Labeling Sterilization Packages and Expiration Dates

Last Updated: 7/9/2023

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 the expiration of these items.


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



VTH – Veterinary Teaching Hospital

SAC – Small Animal Clinic

LAC – Large Animal Clinic

VMSC – Vet Med South Clinic

MWE  –  Midwest Equine

WMC – Wildlife Medical Clinic

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. Confirm item to be sterilized is properly packaged
    1. 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. 
    1. Utilize a Month/Day/Year format, i.e., 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 if there are any issues or questions. 
  6. Bring item(s) to be sterilized to sterile processing and once sterilization is complete, return item(s) to the proper storage area within the service.
    1. 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.
    1. An item is defined as expired one year after the packaging date.
    2. Any identified expired items, those with visible damage, or those that are no longer properly packaged, should be immediately removed from stock/use and packaged to be sterilized again or clearly indicated on that the item that it 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.

KeywordsLabel, item, package, sterile, sterilization, inspection, expire, damage   Doc ID126694
OwnerJenny C.GroupUofI College of Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital
Created2023-03-17 12:09 CSTUpdated2023-07-17 11:51 CST
SitesUniversity of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital
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