How to Check Expiry Date from a Barcode (2023 Update)

1.5 minutes

In this article, we provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to check the expiry date from a barcode along with a real-world example to better illustrate the process for you. 


7 Steps to Check Expiry Date From a Barcode

Follow the 7 simple steps below to find the expiry date from a product barcode:

1. Understand the Barcode

There are two main types of barcodes. The first type, called Linear (1D) Barcode, is the one we often see on many products and mostly shows a unique product number. The second type, the 2D Barcode or QR code, can hold more details like expiration dates, website links, and more. However, most products you buy from the store will not have the expiry date in the barcode; it's usually printed separately on the packaging.

2. Get a Barcode Scanner

To read a barcode, you have two main choices. The first is a barcode scanner, which is a device used in many stores. The second option is to use a smartphone app. There are many apps available for both Android and iPhone that can read barcodes.

3. Scan the Barcode

Using your scanner or phone, scan the barcode on the product. Make sure it's clear and readable. If you're using a phone app, you'll need to open the app and hold your phone over the barcode to scan it.

4. Retrieve the Data

If you're using a barcode scanner, it will need to be connected to a computer. Once you scan the barcode, the data will appear on the computer screen. If you're using a phone app, it's even simpler: the app will show you the information right after you scan the barcode.

5. Look for Expiry Information

If the barcode has the expiry date in it, you'll see it once you scan it. But often, especially with the common 1D barcodes, you'll only see a product number. This means you'll need to look it up in a system or website to find out the expiry date.

6. Database or System Lookup

If the barcode gives you only a product number, use that number to search in the related system or website. This could be a store's system, an online database, or the manufacturer's website. Here, you should find more details about the product, including the expiry date.

7. Double-check with Printed Dates

Always check the expiry date you found in the barcode with the date printed on the product's package. This is to make sure you have the right date, especially with items like food or medicine.


Let's walk through the process of determining the expiry date from a barcode, using a cereal brand, "NutriYum Cereal," as an example.

1. Understand the Barcode on NutriYum Cereal

Upon inspecting the NutriYum Cereal box, you notice a series of vertical lines – this is the Linear (1D) Barcode, which most products in grocery stores have. Next to the nutrition facts, there's also a square with patterns in it – a QR code. This QR code might hold more detailed information about the cereal.

2. Get a Barcode Scanner

You decide to use your smartphone to read the barcode. After a quick search on your app store, you download an app named "QuickScan."

3. Scan the Barcode of NutriYum Cereal

You open QuickScan and hover your phone's camera over the barcode on the NutriYum Cereal box. In seconds, the app captures the code and processes it.

4. Retrieve the Data

Once scanned, QuickScan displays "Product ID: 123456789012." This appears to be a product identification number. Curious about the QR code, you scan it too. The app redirects you to NutriYum's official website with detailed information about that specific cereal variant.

5. Look for Expiry Information

The barcode scan didn't directly give the expiry date. But on the NutriYum website, after entering the Product ID, you find more detailed information about the cereal, including its expiry date.

6. Database or System Lookup

Wanting to double-check, you visit a popular grocery database website you know. You enter the Product ID "123456789012." The site displays information about NutriYum Cereal, including its expiry, which matches the one from NutriYum's website.

7. Double-check with Printed Dates

Before putting the cereal in your shopping cart, you check the printed expiry date at the bottom of the NutriYum Cereal box. It matches the one you found online. Feeling assured, you decide to purchase the cereal.

We hope our article has now left you with a better understanding of how to check the expiration date by barcode. 

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