Labeling sterilization packages and expiration dates

Last Updated: 12/15/2021

Purpose/ Applicability: The purpose of this SOP is to outline the process of properly labeling items/packages that will be sent for sterilization and monitoring for expiration of these items.

Scope: This SOP is intended for use throughout the Veterinary Teaching Hospital including SAC, LAC, VMSC and Midwest Equine. 

VTH – Veterinary Teaching Hospital
SAC – Small Animal Clinic
LAC – Large Animal Clinic
VMSC – Vet Med South Clinic
MWE- Midwest Equine
Sterilization – The process of eliminating, removing, killing or deactivating all forms of microorganisms present on a specific object.


  • Items packaged for sterilization
  • Black Sharpie


  1. Properly package items to be sterilized
    a. See SOP on Packaging for Sterilization
  2. Indicate on the outside of the packaging, in clear and legible writing with a black sharpie, the date the item was packaged. 
    a. Utilize a Month/Day/Year format, ie: 12/14/21
  3. Include a brief description of the items in the package, if warranted.
  4. Add the name/initials of the service the item is from.
  5. Add your initials to the package so it is known who packaged the item in case of issues or questions. 
  6. Bring items to be sterilized and once done return to the proper storage area within the service.
    a. Be sure to rotate stock, placing newly sterilized items in the back and older items forward.
  7. Monthly, someone within the service (designated by the clinical coordinator for that service) shall be assigned to check all items for expiration.
    a. An item is defined as expired one year after the packaging date.
    b. Any identified expired items or those with visible damage should be immediately removed from stock/use and packaged to be sterilized again or clearly indicated on that the item is no longer sterile.
  8. VTH Inspection door sheets should be used monthly to document that a visual inspection of all items for expiration has occurred. The sheets should be turned into the VCM Department Office when completed

Keywords:Label, item, package, sterile, sterilization, inspection, expire, damage   Doc ID:126694
Owner:Jenny C.Group:University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital
Created:2023-03-17 13:09 CDTUpdated:2023-03-17 13:13 CDT
Sites:University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital
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