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Bonkers! EU rules ban the sale of jam in reused jam jars
WORCESTERSHIRE WI groups are reaching boiling point after being told that the tradition of selling home-made jams at village fetes could become a thing of the past under an EU law.
Thousands of people involved in church groups and WIs who sell home-made preserves using reused jars have been warned they are breaching health and safety regulations.
A circular issued by the Churches’ Legislation Advisory Service (CLAS) sent to all parishes said that while members can still reuse jam jars to give to friends and family, they couldn’t be used for sale at events such as fetes, fairs and raffles.
Helen Dew, president of Evesham Vale WI, said: “It was mentioned at our meeting and people found it ridiculous that these sorts of laws are in place.
“We sterilise our jam jars, people have been doing it for years. The WI is known for Jam and Jerusalem. “That’s what people join for – home-made skills like jam making and baking.
“For these regulations to come along and stifle that, it’s very sad.”
Sheila Goldingay, secretary of the village WI in Eckington, near Pershore, said: “Our ladies who make jam and preserves both have WI hygiene certificates. We believe in recycling as much as possible.”
Tina Fernihough, who runs a Brownie group in the village of Inkberrow, described the regulations as absolutely ludicrous. “It’s health and safety gone mad,” she said.
Sam Setchell, spokesman for the Worcester Diocese, said: “I think it will make it harder for parishes to hold fund-raising events if they want to sell jam.”
However, Alex Dodge, church warden at St Barbara’s Church, Ashton-under-Hill, near Evesham, said it was a “sign of the times”.
Mrs Dodge, who regularly makes jams, chutneys and preserves and sells them for charity, said: “If you can sterilise jars adequately it’s not a problem.”
Claims that people could be punished under the regulations have been rubbished in some quarters, including Bill Newton Dunn, a Liberal Democrat MEP. He described the claims as nothing more than a scare story.
Frank Cranmer, secretary of CLAS, said: “The result is that the likelihood of anyone being prosecuted now looks extremely remote – even if it remains a technical possibility.”