Sunday, 7 October 2012

Crazy EU Jam Jar Rules

If I ever buy jam I buy the prettiest jars I can find so I can recycle them. 

The great thing about blogging is that you can move quickly and say what you think in minutes.

This morning I lay in bed quietly watching the mist lift across the copper beech trees. It was a perfect Sunday morning until I checked my phone and noticed a tweet.  It said that the Church of England has banned the sale of all jams, marmalades pickles and chutneys.  At first I thought it was a joke.  Sadly it is not.
This is a link to the article I read in The Telegraph.  

Apparently someone has decided that because glass is slightly porous jam and preserves made in recycled jars may no longer be sold because there is a risk that someone might want to make jam in a jar that has contained something toxic. This ruling means that home jam makers wanting to donate preserves to a fundraiser may no longer do so without breaking EU legislation. 

I do not believe that anyone who makes jam would be so stupid as to use a contaminated jam jar. These rules and regulations made in Brussels are, to me, an insult to basic common sense.  What next?  Will the EU tell me how to cross the road with out getting run over? 

I wonder  - does this mean that milk bottles are no longer to be recycled and when I make a cake for the village fete, if I use my home made jam from a recycled jar of my home made jam am I then breaking the law?

How can you even prove that a jam jar is actually new?   And who are the jam jar police?

The whole thing goes against everything I stand for.  Using up gluts of fruit, supporting my local community, charity, kindness, recycling and being green.  It’s absurd.

I am therefore sending this blog post to David Cameron.  David please stand up for what is decent and right.  Credit us with some common sense and tell Brussels to stick their jam jar meddling laws. 

UPDATE - Monday Lunch time

I rang and spoke to Lou Henderson, Senior Media Officer at the Church of England.  I asked him about the story in the Telegraph and the Daily Mail and he was very clear in his response. 

"Yes The Churches Legislation Advisory Service did advise that this legislation might have implications for the church fundraising sales of home made jam but the news story is not correct.  the Church of England has not banned anything and the information ( in the article) did not come from us.  it is misleading to suggest that it is."


  1. Of course the joke is that all of these bureaucrats are eating & drinking from washed and re-used items of crockery and glassware every day! Or do they live in a parallel universe where no plate or coffee mug is ever used more than once?? Never mind all those perfectly good and green deposit & return schemes for beer bottles and suchlike - are they all to be banned too?

  2. Vanessa, it's quite barmy! I use recycled jars all the time, so long as I use waxed discs and new lids my jam is fine. I've been making jam and giving it it friends for over 20 years, and my mincemeat had star billing at the school Christmas market when my boys were young, and so far no casualties!
    It seems such a shame that people who want to give and contribute in raising funds for local charities will be unable to do so.
    Will we have to send a receipt as proof of new jars with our donations in future?
    I support you 100% in objecting to this petty ruling.
    Jude x

  3. Oh whatever next! I was planning on making Jam/chutneys to use in our items in the coffee shop & I would have used sterilised recycled jars, so would I not be allowed to use that?? And like you say, who would check?? Grrrr!!!!

  4. Too right Vanessa and I strongly suspect that jam makers and preservers all over Europe will be ignoring this nonsense too.

  5. It's absolute madness - as are many of the EU rules and regulations. If a jar is sterilized surely that means it is germ-free or does sterilization not kill germs? As you say, who will police these jam jars? As usual there are people employed by the EU who do not have enough "proper" work to do so they sit around all day thinking up new directives. It just gets madder and madder - even the Church of England headed the notice "This is not a Spoof". It would be interesting to know just how many people had been "contaminated" by jam they bought at a charity event over the many years that people have been making and selling jam. As a rough estimate I would suggest .............. none?

  6. I was astounded when I read this too. What utter nonsense!

  7. How else can we protest?
    Do you have a petition we can send to David Cameron?

  8. That is a ridiculous piece of legislation. I'm pretty sure that any one of us who makes jam/jelly/chutney (for personal use or for fetes) etc - sterilise our jars to within an inch of their lives in any event, and no one has been hurt by using recycled glass. How much energy would be wasted if we all recycled our jars instead of reusing them? I suspect I'll be ignoring this golden little nugget of wisdom...

  9. Just heard a guy from the FSA talking about this on Radio 4's 'You and Yours'. He says this legislation's been around for years and nobody's ever been prosecuted for selling jars of home-made jam. In fact he stressed that the FSA know glass to be one of the safest, most stable materials there is re contamination. So there's no issue for you, for the WI, for church fetes or for anyone else using recycled glass. I suspect a bit of mischief-making by the Telegraph.

  10. Thanks kate . does this mean they the Church of England is now allowing the sale of preserves to continue?

  11. You'd have to assume so. It would seem perverse to uphold a ban which isn't actually in place.

  12. I was astonished when I read this tweet. Regardless of whether it is headline seeking on the part of the media it's still a daft piece of legislation. For all the reasons you've mentioned it seems unenforceable. And surely at this moment the EU has rather more pressing worries than the jar that holds the homemade jam! GG

  13. I love your blog! It's so calming on the eye and easy to get into, your photography is beautiful too.

    Anyway this is absolutely ludicrous, thank god it's inaccurate.

    On second thought, wouldn't it be awful if any "lesbian jam" got muddled in the mix. HA!

  14. Oh what a load of rubbish- I do find that the media sensationalise this type of hogwash too. Recently in an Australian paper there was an article about the diet of Americans where some schools have banned all homemade treats in a child's lunchbox as they cannot verify what the ingredients are. Even mum's healthy homemade muffins or muesli bars are not allowed only health bars that are packaged and have the specified requirements of fat, sugar etc. What madness is this or is there a kick back from manufacturers. This is all in the name of curbing obesity! Sometimes things are just taken too too far.

  15. Living in France as I do for part of the year, as you know, and engaging with the locals at village fetes and fairs, I can tell you with 100% certainty that this is not followed in the EU, well in France at least! And that new screw top jam jar lids that fit a very famous brand, good mother(!!!), are sold in all supermarkets seal old jars with new lids is very common!


If you are reading my blog I must warn you that I am not impartial. I want to influence you. I want to make you stop for just a moment and consider the effect of a lifetime of seemingly insignificant decisions and how making small delicious choices can change the world.

I believe that we can change the world one bite at a time.

It's a delicious revolution.