3-15. LABELING OF STERILE SUPPLIES
a. General. A date on each package sets a limit on the number of days an item
will be considered sterile. The date the package becomes outdated is stamped on the
package as it is removed from the sterilizer; thus an undated package is not considered
sterile. To provide a record of the history of sterilization of items, the Army requires load
control numbers and expiration dates to be marked on all supplies.
b. Load Control Numbers. A load control number permits ready identification
of the sterilizing cycle used on each item. It identifies the exact sterilizer used, the date
the item was sterilized, and the load control number. The load control number consists
of six digits made up as follows:
The first digit is the numerical designation of the sterilizer.
(2) The second, third, and fourth digits indicate the Julian calendar day of
the year, that is, 001 through 365 days.
(3) The fifth and sixth digits indicate the number of times a sterilizer is
loaded and operated during a 24-hour period. Table 3-5 shows examples of load
Table 3-5. Examples of load control numbers.
(4) The load control number must be marked on all items after the
sterilization process and after the supplies are cool and safe to handle. For items that
are gas sterilized, the load control number is marked on the item after the aeration
(5) If the sterilizer is equipped with a temperature indicator and recording
chart, the load control number is recorded on the chart.