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£15 for an M&S Yule Log that had to be eaten … before I bought it | Money

On 28 December I bought a £15 Yule Log cake from M&S. It wasn’t until I got home that I noticed the label said “Best before 28 December”. Customer services insisted this meant that the cake should be eaten by the end of 28th. I disagreed.

“Best before” surely means that it is fine up to midnight on 27 Dec.

They refused to budge, but sent me a gift card as I live 10 miles away from the store, so couldn’t take it back. But who is correct?

MH, Crail, Fife

Logically you should be right. Legally, however, you are not, according to the Food Standards Agency. “Best before here means best until the end of 28 December,” it explains. You’d think that the “end” could be added to the label so that it says what it means, but bizarrely EU legislation decrees otherwise.

It’s worth pointing out that “best before” dates are about quality rather than health and mean that texture and flavour might start to diminish after they’ve passed.

“Use by” dates, crucially, indicate when foods become unsafe to eat.

M&S says all its labelling is in line with the relevant legislation.

If you need help email Anna Tims at [email protected] or write to Your Problems, The Observer, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Include an address and phone number. Submission and publication are subject to our terms and conditions

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