GSA Shelf Life Management Program
Shelf Life is defined by the Department of Defense (DoD) Shelf Life Management Manual (DoD 4140.27-M/May 5, 2003) as:
"The total period of time beginning with the date of manufacture, date of cure (for elastomeric and rubber products only), date of assembly, or date of pack (subsistence only), and terminated by the date by which an item must be used (expiration date) or subjected to inspection, test, restoration, or disposal action; or after inspection/laboratory test/restorative action that an item may remain in the combined wholesale (including manufacture's) and retail storage systems and still be suitable for issue or use by the end user."
Within the federal supply system, appropriate Shelf Life Codes are designated for each National Stock Number (NSN). These codes are contained in DoD Shelf Life Management Manual 4140.27-M [pdf], Appendix E. Shelf Life Codes designate items as either Type I (alpha character, except X) or Type II (numeric character and alpha character X). Type I items expire at expiration date, when material is unfit for use. Type II items can be extended by either visual inspection or laboratory test, as required by the applicable management activity storage standards. All NSNs or National Item Identification Numbers (NIINs) deemed "non-deteriorative", are identified by Shelf Life Code 0 (zero).
The GSA Shelf Life Management Procedures are outlined in Federal Standard 793B, Depot Storage Standards. In addition, GSA fully supports DoD shelf life policies contained in DoD 4140.27-M, Shelf Life Management Manual. Please review these policy documents and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for more information. Send questions to GSA using the contact links shown at the bottom of the page under the section titled “Other Related Hyperlinks.”