Friday, September 29, 2006

What does that Mars code mean?

As I’m often found eating expired (or at least past prime) candy, it was a wonderful comment on the Skittles Fresh Mint post that breaks the code on the package of Mars products. Reader Dave posted the code in the comments and I’m putting it here for everyone to use.

Here’s how do figure out when that candy was made:

The date of packaging is within the first three digits of the code - the first digit is the last number of the year and the next two are the week of the year.

So, the Milky Way bar I have in front of me says:

That means it was made in the 20th week of 2006 - or sometime between May 14th to the 21st. Pretty fresh.

The Milky Way Dark I have says:

That means it was made in the 14th week of 2006 - or sometime between April 2nd to the 9th. Not bad.

This seems to work with Canadian Mars products too, as this is what the Mars Dark says:

That means it was made the 35th week of 2005 ... hmm, sometime between August 26th and September 2nd. That’s a little old. But I it must have been stored properly as it was still fresh and tasty.

The week of the year thing is a little tricky unless you have a payroll calendar nearby, so a quick and easy way to approximate the month is to divide the week by four (it gets less reliable the higher the number because there’s usually a fraction of a week left in the month).

The UK Mars bar I have simply has an expiration date on it (12-11-06). I’m not sure if that’s the European date style (November 12th, 2006) or the American (December 11, 2006) but at least neither of them have passed yet.

Related Candies

  1. What does that Hershey’s code mean?
  2. What does that Nestle code mean?

POSTED BY Cybele AT 10:50 am Tracker Pixel for Entry     CandyExpiration CodesMarsNews

  1. is it okay to eat expired chocolates?
    a week or a month expired maybe?

    Comment by KAREN on 11/09/06 at 3:29 pm #
  2. I know I’m late to the game here… but some info for you guys:
    I bought a 30 count variety pack of Mars candy bars.
    Code Date: 737E44GA38 20:52
    Best Before: 09/2008

    So there’s about 1 year shelf life on these things. Hope this is useful!

    Comment by Brian on 1/24/08 at 10:51 am #
  3. Thanks Brian!

    Comment by Belle on 11/11/08 at 2:35 pm #
  4. hi, i recently bought a pack of mars chocolates (made in Ireland) with expiration date 08/03/09. i was thinking that would be aug 3, 2009 but i just realized that it might be mar 8, 2009 as well.  the code attached to it reads 832C31GM00.  based on the blog above,it would have been made on the 32nd week of 2008, which would be sometime in august 2008? is that right?


    Comment by jenny on 2/08/09 at 9:44 am #
  5. What is the shelf life of candy?  How many weeks, months, past their born date?

    EXP:  M&Ms;with a date of 826BL? 


    Comment by Gerri on 3/11/09 at 5:29 am #
  6. All mars candy has a shelf life of 1 year 60 days from the date of manufacturing.  So the first number is the year the second is the week it was produced, figure it out you have a year and 60 days from them.  Hershey and Nestle, the letter is the month it expires in a = jan, b = feb, and so on the year is the year it expires in.  Hope this helps.

    Comment by Dixie Heights on 4/12/09 at 6:20 am #
  7. how do i read the expiration code on my bag of skittles?  802EX
          WAC05 02

    Comment by tina on 4/21/09 at 8:49 am #
  8. Cybele's avatar

    Tina - your candy was made in January 2008.

    Skittles are good for at least a year, probably 18 months ... you should be okay. But if they don’t look right, return them or write to Mars.

    Comment by Cybele on 4/21/09 at 8:55 am #
  9. I work @ Rite Aid and I am constantly looking @ expiration dates on Candy, IDK why Mars has to make it so difficult, Put the right date of expiration and everything will run smoothly!. Its such a hassle to try to figure it out.

    Comment by Jessica on 5/28/09 at 5:04 pm #
  10. Are these codes expired?Hersheys Heath English Toffee Bits..
    7CR3A 6B
    67JF3B 5K
    49GR2A 8J
    72CR1B 6A
    72CR1B 6A

    Comment by Marlene on 6/07/09 at 8:35 am #
  11. I have a several bars of Hebert Milk Chocolate with Roasted Almonds.  The code I found on the back of the wrapper is 08045A.  By this code can you tell me the expiration date?


    Comment by Norian on 7/04/09 at 2:49 am #
  12. Wow. I came here from a Google search on how to decipher the expiration code on the rock hard Starburst I got out of the company vending machine. Made in the 48th week of 2007. Stellar. Thanks Candyblog!

    Comment by Kimberly on 9/09/09 at 1:34 pm #
  13. When is my skittles bag made?
    It has a letter in front of the code:E081110 027 AY 35

    Thank you.

    Comment by Alex on 9/29/09 at 5:25 pm #
  14. My job at work is to make sure all candy is fresh. I pull products that are within 30 days of expiring. There are different ways to read the codes. Some are pretty basic Letters A thru L are for the months A being January and L is December, the number is the last digit of the year. Example 1F would read 2011 June. Now some companies use these codes as the manufacturing date and some use them as the Best By date. The trick is to look at the year. If the year is older then the currant year 2010 it is the Best Buy year. If the year is younger 2009 then it is the manufacture date. Manufacture dates means you hold the product for a certain about of time before you pull. Each company has different times for different candy.
    example Butterfingers are 12 months from the decoded date, Baby Ruth’s are 8 months.
    Other codes can read at
    92014567 ok you look at the first number which will be the last digit of the year 9 = 2009
    the next three numbers are Julian date
    201= July (need a Julian calender to read these)
    then you need to know what the shelf life is for each brand example M&M’s have a 10 month limit from the decoded date. So July 2009 candy would be pulled off the shelf May 2010. There are other codes for store brand candies that varies by the brands. Hope this helps someone

    Comment by Nita on 1/14/10 at 7:01 am #
  15. I’m currently eating a Twix candy bar and the caramel seems a bit hard. Actually, I bought it today, but I was wondering.. is my chocolate expired!? Yuck. Code 850ATCLV01

    Comment by Jennifer on 1/24/10 at 1:42 pm #
  16. I am writing you to make a complaint. I have tried your new slim “Mars Bar” and I must tell you that I am quite disappointed in it. I am not getting my money’s worth and I have less to savour. I must say that the price has also gone up and that they are not as good. Therefore, I will not be buying your product anymore.

    Too bad.

    Comment by Irene Waters on 3/07/10 at 3:34 pm #
  17. what’s the date for 010FTCLV04? this is for twix

    Comment by ann on 5/11/10 at 4:26 pm #
  18. Thanks for this!

    I had just bought an M&M’s Cookie Ice Cream Sandwhich and got scared by the code:


    I first thought it meant that it had expired on Dec. 25th, 2001 (oh hell no) but then reading this I realized otherwise. Thanks, now I can eat my cookie ice cream sandwhich IN PEACE.

    Comment by instrumentoffear!!!!! on 10/20/10 at 1:14 pm #
  19. Thanks for this!

    I had just bought an M&M’s Cookie Ice Cream Sandwhich and got scared by the code:


    I first thought it meant that it had expired on Dec. 25th, 2001 (oh hell no) but then reading this I realized otherwise. Thanks, now I can eat my cookie ice cream sandwhich IN PEACE.

    Comment by instrumentoffear!!!!! on 10/20/10 at 1:14 pm #
  20. I have purchased 2 bags of Peanut M&M’s that taste terrible.  The codes are 035ARCLV10 and 032DKHKP43.
    Do the codes tell of a production date in 2000 or 2010.  I would believe 2000 because we ate many rotten peanuts before giving up….

    Comment by Julee on 11/07/10 at 4:37 pm #
  21. I would say that it is saying they were manufactured on the 32 and 35 week of 2010

    Comment by Russ on 11/09/10 at 12:39 pm #
  22. I try’d to ask the date through MARS “Contact Us”,,
    and only got a long worthless email back telling me to call during the day.

    F them, I’m not going to buy anymore Mars products.
    They shold have just told me the date.
    They shouldn’t have the date coded anyways, so we eat old nasty candy bars.

    Comment by shahrzad on 12/15/10 at 4:27 pm #
  23. Hello, I actually work for a company that distributes Mars and Nestle Candies among other things. I can tell you that chocolate candy expires one year after the manufacturer date. And sugar candy, ie; pixie sticks and laffy taffys expires two years after the manufacturer date.

    Comment by NIcole on 1/14/11 at 4:29 pm #
  24. I have a twix bar with a code, I bought two and ate one of them, it seemed hard..not fresh. So the code on this one looks like 008bsclv05, if the info above for deciphering a mars candy bar is correct, then this would have expired or was manufactured in Aug. 2000?? That doesn’t seem accurate unless Mars is distributing really old candy to the stores.

    Why can’t companies just put a freakin’ date on their food products? This is ridiculous that we should have to call to find out if our food is expired or not!

    Comment by Brandy on 2/02/11 at 9:05 pm #
  25. so if the candy bar was made that day and yesr, does that means it expires on that date of the following year?

    Comment by shalinda on 4/16/11 at 7:03 pm #
  26. i have a bar in front of me dated 903A(WWAC04 99)
    from a rep of this company the date is January 3 2009.
    the A is month 03 the date 9 last digit of year made.
    First letter corrasponds with month
    First number corrasponds with last digit of year
    Second and Third number corraspond with date Packaged.

    Comment by Kris on 9/10/11 at 12:54 pm #
  27. so then your candy bar is 2 yrs old..and the Twix I had was 11yrs old? That’s just messed up.  I won’t buy M&M’s anymore because the seem outdated..but some of them have a “12” as the first 2 either it is an expiration date or they were made 10 yrs ago in doesn’t make since. I’m sticking with candy that has an actual date on it from now on. Same goes for companies that make frozen pizzas, most don’t have an actual date, just one of these codes or Julian date. Would it really be that hard to put a real date on there instead?? Then we wouldn’t have to call to make sure we didn’t buy expired food..supermarkets can’t be trusted with the actual dated stuff, never mind these codes. It’s such BS.

    Comment by Brandy on 9/12/11 at 1:36 am #
  28. Who remembers the Waleco candy bar?  I still remember the t.v. commercial that was on in the 50s and early 60s.  The jingle was “Look both ways before you cross the street so you’ll be alive to live and eat Waleco.”  It was a chocolate covered cocoanut candy bar.

    Comment by Pat on 12/08/12 at 3:39 pm #
  29. How about the t.v. commercial for Good and Plenty in the 50s and 60s?  Charlie was the train conductor in the commercial.  Part of the jingle was “Charlie says, “love those Good and Plenty.” Charlie says “they really ring the bell.”  Does anyone know the next part?

    Comment by Pat on 12/08/12 at 3:43 pm #
  30. I remember the Good and Plenty song, it was still on in the 70’s because I wasn’t born in till 67. “love my good and plenty, don’t know any other candy that I love so well” Check out the video on youtube, it’s the old commercial.

    Comment by Brandy on 12/08/12 at 9:30 pm #
  31. what the hell code is this?! I am eating Demet’s Flipz… code… 2108MN211   i have searched high and low i cant find how to read it! help!

    Comment by nikki on 5/01/13 at 9:07 pm #
  32. Reading your BB dates codes are way to hard. I try to pull all the old stuff off the shelves where I work but reading code dates is impossible to make heads or tails out of so I just end of leaving them on the shelf. Why don’t you make the BB date so everyone can read them retailers and consumers.?

    Comment by Angie on 5/08/13 at 7:03 pm #
  33. Mars TWIX chocolate cookie bars Peanut Butter
    Date is: 307EAGUA01.

    What does this translate to?


    Comment by Steven Cottle on 1/18/14 at 8:27 am #
  34. Thanks for the info! It is annoying that it is so hard to determine if an item is fresh. Somebody posted that their Peanut M&Ms; tasted stale but the date code looked good. Another thing to look at is whether the package is sealed correctly. If the machine ran out of glue or got out of alignment and the package isn’t properly sealed, the candy will go bad really fast. There is a number on the bag you can call if you get a defective item, usually they’ll mail you a coupon for free product.

    Comment by Anna on 3/26/14 at 5:58 pm #
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