Tesco customer in a pickle over labelling

Tesco has tried to resolve a condiment conundrum in one of its ready meals.

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”.

Translated into the Gregorian calendar, the most commonly used calendar in the world, 20140 would be 20 May 2020, Tesco tweeted.

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.

It is not based on the historical Julian calendar, which predated use of the Gregorian calendar in the UK.

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. 20140 is the 140th day. This translated into the Gregorian calendar is the 20th May 2020.”

Matthew Stock tweeted back: “Are you serious? Surely that’s not a legitimate way of dating products?”

Maggie responded: “Hi Matthew, I fully agree with you. If I had received this myself I wouldn’t have known what this meant. What I can do is pass this through to my support team to ask why they date it this way. I’ll come back to you asap.”

‘Relish the chance’

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.

Best-before dates are indicators of the quality of the food item, use-by dates are about their safety.

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”.

In a statement the FSA said: “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.”

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Etika: Body found in search is missing YouTuber

Police investigating the disappearance of YouTuber Etika have confirmed that they have found his body.

The gamer, 29, whose real name is Desmond Amofah, was reported missing six days ago.

His belongings were found on Manhattan Bridge on Monday. He had uploaded an eight-minute YouTube video in which he talked about suicide.

Etika was popular for playing and discussing Nintendo games on YouTube and the streaming platform Twitch.

His Twitch account has been deleted but other social media platforms, including Twitter and Instagram, remain visible.

He has 321,000 followers on Twitter and 252,000 on Instagram.

Who was Etika?

Etika joined YouTube in 2012.

He was best known for his reaction videos, where he responded to new releases and products, mainly from games giant Nintendo.

The 29-year-old had worried his followers with his behaviour on social media in the past, with the police called to his home following a suicide threat.

Uploaded at midnight on the evening of the 19 June (19:00 BST), his latest YouTube video, titled I’m sorry, featured Etika walking the streets of New York.

In the film, he apologised for pushing people away and confirmed he suffered from mental illness.

He also talked about social media, advising “caution” around using it too much.

“It can give you an image of what you want your life to be and get blown completely out of proportion,” he says.

“It consumed me.”

The original video was removed but copies have been uploaded by other YouTube users.

Online tributes

Etika’s friends and fans – including other YouTubers – have been paying tribute to him on social media.

Keem described him as “a great entertainer”.

“One of the best streamers in the game. He lost a channel of over 800,000 [subscribers] and made a new one and was right back pulling thousands of viewers. Wherever he’s laid to rest I’ll be there,” he wrote.

Cbass re-tweeted the police’s confirmation of Etika’s death and added: “mental illness is not a joke”.

“Sad to know a bright light faded today,” wrote professional gamer Zinoto.

If you’ve been affected by a mental health issue, help and support is available.

Visit BBC Action Line for more information about support services.

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Brexit: John McDonnell warns Labour must shift policy

The shadow chancellor, John McDonnell, has warned colleagues if they want to avoid a “slow motion car crash” they have to change policy on Brexit.

So far, Labour’s shadow cabinet hasn’t shifted its position on Brexit despite devoting two meetings to the topic.

Labour wants the public to have a say via a general election – or if that’s not possible, then the leadership says the option of a public vote to avoid no deal or a “hard Tory Brexit” is on the table.

In effect, that means a vote on any deal that is negotiated.

There had been a widespread expectation that the party would shift position towards offering not just a referendum on any deal – but that it would make explicit that Remain would be an option on the ballot paper and officially endorse Remain, while allowing MPs to dissent.

But this shift didn’t happen on Tuesday.

A road to Remain?

Following disastrous European election results – overshadowed only by the Conservatives’ poorer performance – deputy leader Tom Watson called for Labour to become an avowedly Remain party.

Significantly, he now has support from the shadow chancellor John McDonnell – who is usually closer to Jeremy Corbyn.

Mr McDonnell told me on Monday he felt it was time for the issue to be put back to the people, and he would campaign for Remain if there were a further referendum.

He also cited Harold Wilson’s 1970s government which called a referendum, officially backed remaining in the EU, but allowed any members, and indeed ministers, who wanted to leave to call for withdrawal.

There’s been pressure too for the leadership to adopt this position from others on the Left – notably the group Another Europe Is Possible, which is supported by shadow minister Clive Lewis and Momentum’s national organiser, Laura Parker.

They say the time for equivocation and hesitation is over.

But apparently it isn’t.

Hesitation, repetition but no deviation

At Tuesday’s fractious shadow cabinet meeting I’m told Tom Watson and shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry pushed for “decisive action” – the latter saying “this is about leadership” – and John McDonnell was certainly under the impression that a decision was supposed to have been taken today.

Another left-winger, Diane Abbott, talked about rising discontent amongst the membership.

But in effect the decision to – at least – delay a policy shift was taken yesterday when unions affiliated to Labour met Jeremy Corbyn but came to no definitive conclusion on Brexit policy.

Both Unite and the CWU don’t want to adopt a “Referendum and Remain” stance, partly for fear of alienating Labour Leave voters.

Some in the shadow cabinet agree – and party chairman Ian Lavery and shadow education secretary Angela Rayner expressed concerns about shifting position today.

So there will now be further consultation: first this week with members of Labour’s ruling national executive – then with the unions.

Their general secretaries will meet again on 8 July.

‘Muddle and confusion’

I am told that John McDonnell believes it’s vital that a decision isn’t delayed beyond this date as he and others want any Brexit policy to be clear well before a new prime minister is installed on 24 July.

Phil Wilson – one of the Labour MPs behind a failed Commons amendment on a so-called People’s Vote – said: “Labour members and Labour MPs expect our party to have a clear policy that reflects our values.

“Instead, we have to listen to muddle, confusion and the sound of the can being kicked listlessly down a never-ending road.”

His colleague Neil Coyle, who backs another public vote, had a union general secretary in his sights. He suggested the Labour leadership wouldn’t shift position unless Len McCluskey of Unite would shift.

But the 26 Labour MPs – mostly, though not exclusively, from Leave areas – who signed a letter to Jeremy Corbyn last week warning against a Remain position and a “toxic further referendum – will be pleased that pressure to move quickly has been resisted.

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Donald Trump Appoints Stephanie Grisham White House Press Secretary

Washington: 

President Donald Trump on Tuesday named Stephanie Grisham – until now the spokeswoman for his wife Melania – as chief White House press secretary.

The appointment, announced by Melania Trump on Twitter, replaces the outgoing Sarah Sanders, who has been sharply criticized for rarely briefing journalists who cover the White House.

Grisham will also hold the more strategic post of communications director, the first lady tweeted.

“I am pleased to announce @StephGrisham45 will be the next @PressSec & Comms Director!” Melania Trump wrote.

“She has been with us since 2015 – @POTUS & I can think of no better person to serve the Administration & our country.”

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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Google city sparks fresh controversy

Sidewalk Labs, a sister company of Google, has published its plans to build a smart city in Toronto, sparking fresh controversy.

In a 1,500-word document, the company laid out its ambitions to “improve the urban environment” with a variety of high-tech innovations.

Toronto Waterfront, the body that will decide if the bid is successful, has questioned the proposals.

Meanwhile, some citizens want the plans to be scrapped entirely.

‘Lab rats’

The partnership between Sidewalk Labs and Toronto Waterfront was announced in 2017 and the plans to revitalise a disused part of the city was intended to be a model for future urban development.

But citizens expressed concerns about becoming “lab rats” and questioned Sidewalk Labs’s motivations in building a city “from the internet up”.

A group called simply Block Sidewalk held meetings to express growing concern about having a huge technology company making decisions about city life.

The group has called a meeting on 3 July to discuss the plans.

Sidewalk Labs chief executive Dan Doctoroff remained upbeat about its intentions, saying it wanted to create “something extraordinary” on Toronto’s eastern waterfront.

“The proposal aims to create the neighbourhood of the future in the right kind of way with people at its centre and with cutting edge technology and forward-thinking urban design,” he said.

‘Different perspective’

The Master Innovation and Development Plan outlines a range of innovations – from thermal and advanced energy grids, to factory-based construction of timber buildings, to a dynamic mobility network with heated bike lanes and adaptive traffic lights.

But in an open letter, Toronto Waterside chairman Stephen Diamond’s response seemed lukewarm, saying there were key areas where the two organisations had “very different perspectives”.

This included the scale of the plan, which he said was “much larger” than the original 12-acre (48,500-sq-m) site, and its proposals to collect and store data, which he said required extra information to ensure they complied with applicable laws.

Sidewalk Labs said it had spent 18 months consulting more than 20,000 Toronto citizens.

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