The code on the jar of Randall products tells you (and us) when and where the jar of beans was produced. We are required by the US Food and Drug Administration to put this code on each jar.
A typical code looks like this: TGN12001AA
- The first letter is for the production location (T = our only plant, located in Tekonsha, MI).
- The next 1 or 2 letters are for the product type (GN = Great Northern beans, P = Pinto beans, M = Mixed beans).
- The next 2 digits are for the production year (10 = 2010, 11 = 2011, 12 = 2012, etc.).
- The next 3 digits are for the production day (001 = Jan 1st, 002 = Jan 2nd, … , 365 = Dec 31st)
- The next 1 or 2 letters are for the production batch (A = 1st batch, B = 2nd batch, … AA = 27th batch, AB = 28th batch, etc)
So the code TGN12001AA tells you and us that it is a jar of Great Northern beans produced in our Tekonsha plant on January 1, 2012 in the 27th batch of the day.
You may be wondering for how long our beans are safe to eat.
Randall Beans are some of the very few food products that the US FDA certifies as being “commercially sterile” (ie as sterile as, say, surgical instruments). This is due to the production process: The beans are placed in jars, the jars are seal with caps, and the sealed jars are heated to a high enough temperature so that all microbes are killed. So as long as the jar’s seal is not broken, Randall beans are microbe-free, and hence have an indefinite shelf life. The flavor degrades somewhat over time, but they are always safe to eat. So Randall beans last virtually forever.
Two additional factors you might want to keep in mind:
First, while Randall Beans remain safe to eat indefinitely, the flavor does degrade somewhat over time. If you have a jar of Randall beans that are more than 3 years old, we recommend that you discard it.
Second, rarely but sometimes, the cap on the jar can become unsealed while sitting in your pantry, especially if the jar is more than a couple of years old. You will know that the seal in broken because the beans will both look and smell bad. Again, if you have a jar of Randall beans that are more than 3 years old, we recommend that you discard it.