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Tesco's Reason Behind Product's Expiry Date Has Us All Completely Baffled

Tesco's Reason Behind Product's Expiry Date Has Us All Completely Baffled

A Twitter user has been left truly baffled by the expiry date on his sachet of Tesco burger relish, which cryptically read '20140'.

Is that 20 January 2040? Because that seems like an awfully long time for some burger relish to be sitting around.


Well, no, apparently. The answer is sadly not that simple.

"Hello there Tesco, could you please explain this expiry date please?" the customer, called Matthew Stock, wrote in a tweet to the supermarket.


A Tesco employee called Sharon then piped up, writing: "If I'm honest Matthew, I have no idea. 2nd of January 2040? Can you send me the products barcode number? I'll have a chat with my support team about this and find out for you. Thanks - Sharon."

Matthew then dutifully passed on the required info, before Sharon asked whether or not the relish came with the burgers.

It did.

Matthew explained: "Yup they was like a set you get 2 burgers 2 buns 2 cheeses slices and a sachet of the relish."

It was at this point that Sharon must have finished her shift manning the Tesco social media channels, and someone called Maggie waded in.

"Hi Matthew, I have had a response from my support team," Maggie wrote.

"They have advised the date code on the relish only is the Julian date. 20140 is the 140th day. This translated into the Gregorian calendar is the 20th May 2020. Thanks."

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Cue a collective 'Yawhaaa?' from the entirety of Twitter - including Matthew, who replied: "Okay Maggie. Are you serious? Surely that's not a legitimate way of dating products? That still dont help me. Like do you have a copy of this?"

But Maggie was gone, leaving Matthew with nothing but a sea of comments for company.

Basically, the Julian calendar hasn't been used in Britain since 1752, which was when the now-prevalent Gregorian system - the most commonly used calendar in the world - was first introduced.

Tesco explained that, translated into the Gregorian calendar, 20140 would be 20 May 2020. Simple, right?

A sheepish Tesco later tweeted to say it was 'feeling the heat' from what had happened, and added to the banter by offering 25 percent off burgers 'until 19188'... Or '09/07 if you're feeling Gregorian'.

A Tesco spokesman told the BBC: "The Julian date code is used by our supplier for internal traceability purposes. The standard best before date is printed on the outside of the main packaging.

"We're sorry if any of our customers got in a pickle about this and we have relished the chance to put the record straight.

"All food manufacturers are legally required to stamp a best before or a use-by date on their products."


The Food Standards Agency (FSA) said in a statement that the date on the relish packet in the tweet was the 'best before end' date, which is 'is about quality not safety'.

The statement added: "The outer pack should have a use-by date or best-before date, this would be the date consumers would be expected to follow for the product as a whole."

Blimey, well that was a confusing five minutes for us all - no wonder you were struggling, Matthew...

Featured Image Credit: Matthew Stock/Twitter

Topics: Food, uk news, News

Jess Hardiman

Jess is a journalist at LADbible who graduated from Manchester University with a degree in Film Studies, English Language and Linguistics - indecisiveness at its finest, right there. She also works for FOODbible and its sister page Seitanists, which are both a safe haven for her to channel a love for homemade pasta, fennel and everything else in between. You can contact Jess at [email protected]