Don’t sell jam in re-used jars… by order of Europe: Tradition of selling home-made preserves ‘breaches health and safety rules’
What about milk bottles? Surely not to reuse them will be in conflict with the EU recycling edict?
Churches warn parishioners to stop selling preserves in re-used jars. The tradition, enjoyed by the WI, breaches EU health and safety laws
They are the backbone of church fetes, village fairs and jumble sales
all around the country.
But the thousands who regularly sell their home-made jam, marmalade or
chutney in re-used jars may have to abandon their traditions after a warning
that they are breaching European health and safety regulations.
Legal advisers to Britain’s Churches have sent out a circular saying that
while people can use jars for jam at home or to give to family and friends,
they cannot sell them or even give them away as raffle prizes at a public
Glass warfare: The Women’s Institute is warning its 210,000 members about
the European regulations Take note: The written circular from the Churches’
Legislation Advisory Service
The circular from the Churches’ Legislation Advisory Service, which is
chaired by the Bishop of Exeter, is pointedly headed: ‘Please take note:
this looks like a spoof but it’s not.’
The advisers say the rules that are being breached are the snappily-titled
EC Regulations 1935/2004 and 2023/2006, which prevent containers being
re-used unless they are specifically designed for that purpose.
The Women’s Institute said it was offering similar advice on the re-use of
jam jars to its 210,000 members. A spokesman said the news could send ‘a
tremor through middle-England’ and the organisation was braced for a flurry
The Food Standards Agency said the rules had been introduced because there
was a risk of chemicals leaching out of old containers and contaminating
food, though it added that it was not aware that re-used jam jars were a
‘Daft’: The news will alarm a growing number of jam-makers
The agency said it was up to local authority environmental health officers
to enforce the regulations, and penalties can reach a maximum of a £5,000
fine, six months’
imprisonment, or both.
The news will alarm the growing number of jam-makers inspired by model Kate
Moss, who makes damson jam out of fruit from her Cotswolds estate, and the
Duchess of Cambridge, who keeps pots to give away to friends.
Mary Berry, the star of the BBC’s The Great British Bake Off, said: ‘This is
absolutely stupid. It is just going too far.
‘We are encouraging people to save money by using fruits to make chutneys
and jam, and if they have to buy new jars it will become much too expensive.
The rules are also causing consternation in churches that rely on the
hundreds of thousands of pounds raised from fetes and bazaars.
The Rev Derek Williams, a spokesman for the diocese of Peterborough, said
enforcing the rule ‘would be a blow to fundraising events for all sorts of
He added: ‘It’s quite ridiculous, as selling home-made jams and chutneys has
always been a traditional and important part of fundraising for church
groups and others.
‘Older people in particular, or those not terribly well-off, have never been
shy of making a few pots and giving that away.
‘People will offer their home-made jam when perhaps they can’t give anything
‘This is not a spoof’: Church advisers forced to point out ‘stupid’ rule to
Mr Williams said he had never heard of anyone falling ill from eating jam
from a re-used jar,
adding: ‘There must be a sensible balance between health and safety and
something that has happened without incident for centuries.’
Canon Michael Tristran, of Portsmouth Cathedral, said: ‘On realising this
was not a belated April Fool’s joke, I was very anxious, not only from the
fundraising point of view for all our churches, but also because it goes
against the green agenda of recycling.’
The WI said anyone using old jars should sterilise them by washing them and
drying them in an oven on a low heat.