A SHOPPER at one of Oxford’s biggest supermarkets was ‘shocked’ to find his newly-purchased fruit jelly was almost 10 months past its best before date.

Father-of-three Luke Agar-Hutton, who lives in Littlemore, bought four separate pots of Hartley’s jelly at the Sainsbury’s Oxford superstore at Heyford Hill, and fed two to his young children.

After his four-year-old daughter Caroline Jobb was sick hours later, he and his partner racked their brains to think if it could have been something she ate.

Although he had thrown away the packaging and cannot prove the jelly was a factor, he is worried it could have been past its expiry, after reading the back of the two remaining unopened jellies.

One had a best before date of December 2017 and the other April 2018 - despite the fact that he bought them just two weeks ago.

Mr Agar-Hutton, 30, said: “I was shocked, really shocked. It’s just unbelievable. I’ve never been to a supermarket in my life and picked up a product that out of date.”

He said after complaining in-store staff advised him to ring head office and speak to customer services, who offered him a £40 voucher over the phone and said the matter would be investigated.

He added: “It’s not about the money, it’s about my girl becoming ill - she was really upset. What else sitting in that supermarket could be out of date?

“They have sent a gift card but that means nothing. It makes me really upset.”

According to the Food Standards Agency (FAS), ‘best before’ dates are a mark of when the product’s quality will diminish rather than when it will be unsafe to eat, which is the purpose of a ‘use-by’ date.

Food past its use-by date cannot be sold, redistributed or consumed thereafter, as it might be dangerous, but those past the ‘best before’ date can and should not be harmful, according to Banbury-based charity WRAP.

FSA guidance states: “The food will be safe to eat after this date but may not be at its best. Its flavour and texture might not be as good.”

Mr Agar-Hutton, who works in a pub kitchen, was taken aback by the policy.

He said: “That’s terrible - that needs to be changed. Surely no-one would be happy buying that. There’s no way anybody would want to be eat something from 2017.”

Sainsbury’s said it has checked the remaining jelly in store and confirmed they are all in date.

A spokesperson said: “We have apologised to Luke and have assured him the product on shelf is in date.

“We are also arranging a gesture of goodwill, including a little something for his daughter, which he has accepted.”

Mr Agar-Hutton said the manager had offered Caroline to come and choose something from the shop to take home for free.

He said: “I know they are trying to sort things out but it does still put me off shopping at the place. It knocks your confidence.”

The father said he had not thought about checking dates on cupboard items, which have a longer shelf life, but would now be keeping a close eye on his shopping.