Saturday, September 1, 2018

How to Find the Expiration Date of Dr Pepper Part 2

I received a comment on a post titled How to Find the Expiration Date of Dr Pepper and Snapple Unknown asked:
Do you know how to determine the expiration date on canned Dr. Pepper?
On the bottom:
M7 360HX
L3 1331
The easy answer is September 26, 2018, if it is a regular Dr Pepper.  Read on to find out how I arrived at that date.

I bought a can of to illustrate but I'll use Unknown's numbers instead of the numbers on the bottom of my can.

The FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page on the Dr Pepper website says the only way to read the code on their products is to call their 800 number. But that's not quite true, at least for the top row of date codes, according to the Dr Pepper employee I talked to. It may be true about the numbers regarding the plant where each can or bottle is made.

Remember the decoder sheet I got from the man stocking Dr Pepper at the store?  (Click to enlarge.)

The black lines didn't photograph well, but you can fill it in easily. The first column is A-M, without an I because it looks too much like J. Second column is January-December. Third column is J-M,A-H, again no I, and so on with the next columns.

The code on her can is M7360HX; under that code is L3 1331.

I'm going to divide that first group of numbers. M-7-360 (HX).  For now, we are going to ignore the HX.

  • M means it was made in December. 
  • 7 is the last number of the year made, which would be 2017 unless he or she has had this can for a long time.  Then, it could be 2007 I suppose.
  • 360 is the day of the year it was made.  Looking at Epoch Converter, the 360th day of 2017 was December 26. 
  • From the Dr Pepper's FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) page, Dr Pepper made with sugar or corn syrup in a glass bottle or metal can has a shelf life of nine months.  If it is a diet soda made with Aspartame or an AceK blend, the shelf life is three months.
Assuming Unknown's can is made with sugar or corn syrup, her can will expire nine months after December 26, 2017 which is September 26, 2018.  So it's still good.

If Unknown's can is a diet soda,  it will expire three months after December 26, 2017 which was March 26, 2018.

Now, just in case you are curious, here is what I've learned about the other numbers in the code.  The HX is the code for the manufacturing plant that made the product, but I don't know which plant that is.  I'm in Texas and most of the codes I see on the Dr Pepper cans and bottles (when I remember to look) are numbers like DP3, DP8, etc.  Dr Pepper Snapple bought out other drink companies too, one of which is Hawaiian Punch, originally bottled in California.  So maybe the HX designates that bottling plant.  But that's just a guess.  I really have no idea.  Maybe Unknown will come back and tell me where he or she bought the can.

The next line on Unknown's can is L3 1331, and it was probably written L3 13:31.  L3 is the shift number which is often necessary when a plant has more than one shift working at the same time making the same thing, and 13:31 is the time of day that can was produced.  That would be 1:31 PM for those of us who struggle with military time.  If you notice on my can, there is no shift number.  It could be there that that plant only has one production line, or just one production line of Dr. Pepper in cans.


  1. What a great lesson in expiration dates. I often look and look for this and never find it. It's amazing how they can label a container with so much information. Thank you.

    Have a fabulous day. ♥

    1. They do manage to put a lot in just a few lines, don't they? I wish all companies would make the expiration date larger. My mother has a hard time reading those dates.

  2. Hi Marti what an interesting post ,thankyou for explaining it to us,hope you have a wonderful weekend my friend xx

    1. Thank you. I hope the person who asked the question checks in again to see the answer.

  3. This is so fascinating. Did you ever imagine you would become an expert in this subject? Thanks for your recent visit to my blog. The fire circle is coming along well and I imagine we will have our first fire in a week or so!

    1. Ha ha! I'm far from an expert, but I have spent some time searching for information.

  4. Fascinating ! But what don't they simply write the expiration date on it ? Purrs

    1. I don't know. They probably started their code before they thought buyers would want to know. It would be nice if they would switch over now though. Much easier for us to read.

  5. I wonder why they don't just clearly add an expiration date? I'm not sure what expiration would mean for a soda. Sodas are pretty acidic, so not much will grow in them. Maybe the carbonate starts to loos it's bubbles?

    1. Yes, they go flat. I've noticed the really small bottles go flat quickly, much faster than their expiration date indicates. I've never gotten a flat small can though.


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