Guidelines can and should be established for extended use past the outdate for the more stable products.
Manufacturers frequently assign "industry standard" outdates, kept short so that inventory of their products doesn't pile up.
What scientific data exist to mandate that a frozen MIC tray that outdates on July 31 is useless on August 1?
First of all, teaching laboratories can defray student supply expenses by performing careful wuality control to determine which outdates can be used as teaching materials.
Having them work on monitored outdates saves us at least $500 annually just for the microbiology rotation.
We have all seen progressively longer outdates assigned to culture collection materials, kits for rapid and routine identification, and latex or co-agglutination reagents.
But history has demonstrated that outdates are indeed arbitrary and vary based on storage and handling procedures.
Even so, a product's track record and responsible quality control performed by professionals, coupled with industry efforts to increase product outdates, can spell substantial savings for any laboratory.