09 October 2019 03:24
Customer Matthew Stock did not mince his words when he tweeted Tesco asking it to explain a best before date of 20140 on a sachet of burger relish. The chain responded saying the date code on the relish included with two beef burgers was the "Julian date". However, adding to the confusion, the Julian date 20140 actually corresponds to 19 May 2020, the 140th day of 2020, not 20 May. The Julian date is used in some fields, including astronomy and the food industry, to calculate the days which have passed between two events, for example between a food production date and a best before date. Skip Twitter post by @Tesco Hi Matthew, I have had a response from my support team. Mr Stock bought the Tesco own label meal which contained two burgers, two buns, two cheese slices and the sachet of relish.
He tweeted the supermarket, saying: "Hello there Tesco, could you please explain this expiry date please?" Tesco employee Maggie replied: "The date code on the relish only is the Julian date. What I can do is pass this through to my support team to ask why they date it this way. A Tesco spokesman told the BBC: "The Julian date code is used by our supplier for internal traceability purposes. "All food manufacturers are legally required to stamp a best before or a use-by date on their products. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) pointed out the date on the relish shown in the tweet was "best before end" and "is about quality not safety".
Another added: "19176, the day Maggie ripped up the rule book and took us back to Julian calendar!" Many users mocked the supermarket for using the calendar, with one writing: "The best before date on this ready meal I got just says 'the second blood moon of the vernal equinox'. A Tesco spokesperson said: "The Julian date code is used by our supplier for internal traceability purposes. A Tesco shopper has been left stunned by the supermarket after enquiring about a very peculiar looking expiry date. Matthew Stock took to twitter to ask the grocer what exactly it meant by the use by date '20140', which left him unable to decode the expiry on his burger relish. "Hello there Tesco, could you please explain this expiry date please?" he asked on twitter, hoping for some elaboration.
5 Matthew Stock took to Twitter to ask Tesco about the expiry date of his sachet of burger relish Credit: Deadline News Matthew asked: "Hello there Tesco, could you please explain this expiry date please?" Tesco worker Maggie initially replied suggesting it could mean January 2 in 2040 - asking the shopper to submit a photograph of the bar code to help solve the mystery. The conversation then took another turn when she replied suggesting his expiry date could be written in another calendar altogether. Maggie wrote: "I have had a response from my support team. They have advised the date code on the relish only is the Julian date. Several people also claimed that Maggie's date conversion was incorrect, commenting that May 20 in 2020 is in fact 20141 on the Julian calendar. One user said: "The best before date on this ready meal I got just says 'the second blood moon of the vernal equinox'. This is because use by dates indicate when a product may no longer be safe to eat, while best before dates are an indication of quality rather than safety. A spokesperson for Tesco said: "The Julian date code is used by our supplier for internal traceability purposes. Last year, Tesco scrapped best before dates on hundreds of its fruit and veg products. A baffled Tesco shopper whose burger relish bore the best before date of '20140' was told the number refers to the Julian date. Matthew Stock contacted Tesco on Sunday regarding his confusion over the number on his burger sauce, and was informed by a representative that the number was formatted using the Julian date. Mr Stock uploaded a photograph of his burger relish with the unusually dated burger sauce and tweeted at the supermarket: 'Hello there Tesco, could you please explain this expiry date please?' A Tesco spokesperson named Maggie was correctly told by back office staff that the was in the Julian format - a way of measuring dates which forgoes months - but mistakenly said it should be translated into 'the Gregorian calendar', implying that the date referred to a system not used in Britain since the 18th century. Matthew Stock contacted Tesco asking why his burger relish bore the date '20140' as the best before date After double-checking some details, another Tesco spokesperson, Maggie, contacted Mr Stock to say that her support team advised that the date code is 'the Julian date'. Another representative named Maggie clarified that the date refers to the Julian date - which counts only the year and the day Tesco said they would look into why the item was dated this way. Other social media users found the exchange hilarious, with one writing: '19176, the day Maggie ripped up the rule book and took us back to the Julian calendar!' Another user wrote: 'Don't back down Maggie, I think this is a bold new direction for dates and I support you.' The difference between the Julian date and Gregorian calendar The Gregorian calendar measures dates by dividing them into days, months and years. The Julian date forgoes months when noting dates, counting only days and years. A Tesco spokesperson later told MailOnline: 'The Julian date code is used by our supplier for internal traceability purposes.