RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Those who applied for the latest round of free COVID-19 test kits from the government may be puzzled that they are getting kits mailed to them that are days away from expiration. 

Home tests remain a critical part of helping people determine if they may be infected by the virus and millions of us are eligible for a third round of free tests sent to our homes by the government. 

However, expiration dates on some recently mailed tests are confusing, so CBS 17 wants to help clarify.

The third round of test kit mailing was authorized by the White House back in May were part of the government’s plan to fight COVID-19 that was unveiled in January. 

(File photo)

“We’re making one billion, that’s one billion at-home tests available for you to order and be delivered to your home for free,” said President Joe Biden back on January 19.

Many of those free kits mailed during the first or second rounds of the program are now reaching their expiration dates. 

As those dates came closer, test kit makers discovered some brands have a longer shelf life. 

(File photo)

When the Food and Drug Administration examined the data, it agreed and set up a website to let people know which kits can be used beyond their printed expiration date—and for how much longer.

As of today, the FDA site lists 22 brands, but the Roche COVID-19 at home test kit is not listed on the FDA website. 

However, it turns out, those kits made by Roche have also been granted an extension. The question is, how can you tell?  

When the new Roche brand test kits arrived in the mail this week as part of the third round of kits shipped by the government, they came with an expiration date of September 9, just 3 weeks away. 

To get answers, Consumer Investigator Steve Sbraccia did some digging. 

On the back of the test kit box, Roche lists a phone number for general support.   

When you call, and sift through many menu options, you are finally led to a site that Roche itself has set up to show consumers the expiration date of the kit. 

The voice prompts in the menu leads you to this page where you enter the lot number of your test kit to find out its new expiration date. 

(Steve Sbraccia/CBS 17)

You can find the Lot number here on the box, or on the packaged materials inside the kit. 

In the case of these newly mailed Roche brand tests, Sbraccia found out the expiration date is now December 9, 2022—not September 9

To make sure there isn’t any more confusion about whether these Roche brand tests are good or not, experts recommend documenting the new expiration date on the outside of the box.