What Are Julian Dates And Why Does QuikTrip Use Them?

Tuesday, June 15th 2010, 4:37 pm
By: News On 6

By Rick Wells, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- Bet you didn't know Tuesday, June 15th, is day 166 on the Julian Date Calendar.

QuikTrip uses Julian Dates to help manage freshness of items they make and sell.

The News On 6 received a fax a woman named Pam who was concerned about QuikTrip's use of Julian Dates to date stamp their food. She didn't know what that is.

A Julian Date is a way of displaying the date using 365 or 366 consecutive numbers rather than showing the month and day. The system was developed by Julius Caesar in 46 B.C. June 15th is day number 166.

News On 6 reporter Rick Wells met QuikTrip spokesman Mike Thornbrugh at the company's new store at 51st and 129th East Avenue.

"The fresh deli sandwiches is a two-day standard for QuiKTrip," Thornbrugh said.

Because QuikTrip produces these items for consumption on-the-go, this series of numbers is more for them than for consumers. The first number tells them what commissary produced it and what line put the sandwich together. The second set of numbers is the Julian date.

"After the second day we withdraw it from the shelves," Thornbrugh said.

Thornbrugh said using the 3 number Julian Date is a quick reference for employees to help manage the "freshness guarantee" part of the QuikTrip business model. More traditional freshness dates are on items you'd keep over longer periods.

So where does all that food with expire Julian Dates go?

Right now Thornbrugh says it must be disposed of, but they are working with food banks in the states they serve to find a way the food banks might use it.