Home made jams are an essential and delicious part of summer fayres, school fetes and church bazaars up and down the country. However an EU ruling threatens to interfere with that tradition, decreeing that re-using jars for jam and preserves marks a breach of food hygiene regulations.
The law on re-used jars
EC Regulations 1935/2004 and 2023/2006 prohibit the re-using of containers which were not designed specifically for that purpose. As a result the Churches’ Legislation Advisory Service and the Women’s Institute, among others, have advised their members that produce in re-used jars should not be sold at their events.
According to the Food Standards Agency the rules have been applied to prevent old containers from leaching chemicals into food – but conceded that it did not suppose that re-using glass jam jars was likely to cause contamination. The regulations can be enforced by local authority environmental health officers, who can apply fines of up to £5,000, a six month prison sentence or both to offenders.
Jam making is becoming a very popular activity, with supermodel Kate Moss and the Duchess of Cambridge among famous proponents of the hobby. TV chef Mary Berry, church leaders and jam makers all over the country are distinctly unimpressed by the legislation.
New or re-used jars?
No matter how nonsensical the law appears in this case, those planning to sell their home made produce should be aware of the rules and consider carefully the consequences should they choose to break them. Buying new jars all the time may not seem to make economic sense but it is necessary to stay on the right side of the law. Wares of Knutsford can supply a massive range of jam jars at excellent prices – particularly if you’re buying in bulk. Thanks to a flat delivery charge, you can buy as much as you like without worrying about postage and packing charges mounting up.
Bear in mind that if you are selling jams and preserves there are also regulations to observe about labeling.
The re-used jam jars rule only applies to commercial enterprises and does not stop people re-using jars for their own use or to give away as gifts, however it is advisable to buy new lids if you are re-using old jars, which can also be found at Wares of Knutsford. Whether you are using new or re-used jam jars, you should always wash them thoroughly in hot, soapy water, rinse well and then sterilise them before filling – and the same applies to lids.