Updated NFWI advice on the reuse of jam jars
There has been ongoing interest recently about whether sterilized jam jars can be reused when making jam and preserves for a charity event such as a village fete or a one off event selling chutney to raising money for a local charity. As the NFWI is a national organisation; we have a legal duty to work within the law so we are required to pass on advice to our members as the law dictates, and we have been in regular contact with the Food Standards Agency so that we can pass on the best information to WI members. EU legislation states that all food for sale has to be safe, and packaged in safe materials. Legislation is predominantly aimed at food businesses and excludes occasional activity with respect to charities; therefore the recent interest does not apply to infrequent charitable activities.
The FSA has commented that they consider it unlikely that any local authority will take action against the reuse of jam jars but if people are concerned they should contact their local authority and seek reassurance. It is for Local Authorities to enforce the rules and the FSA is not aware of any prosecutions for reusing glass jars for jam making since the legislation was introduced in 2004. The FSA's view remains that the legislation needs to be applied with common sense and that good hygiene needs to be observed in cleaning jars and food preparation.
Ruth Bond, Chair of the NFWI, said:
"This is a storm in a jam jar! WI members have been making jam and chutney for sale through local fetes and fairs since the organisation's beginnings in 1915 and consumers' safety is always a top priority.
"Many of our 210,000 WI members are very keen jam makers and have been for many years. We sincerely hope that the recent interest over these longstanding regulations doesn't deter anyone from reaching for their preserving pans and sugar thermometers."
UPDATED 4 JANUARY 2013
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