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Barmy – EU rule bans selling jam in old jars
VALE 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 homemade preserves in re-used 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 re-use jam jars to give to friends and family, they could not be used for sale at events such as fetes, fairs and raffles.
Helen Dew, president of the 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. It limits what we can do.”
Sheila Goldingay, secretary of Eckington WI, agreed: “Our ladies who make jam and preserves both have WI hygiene certificates.
“We believe in recycling as much as possible.”
Tina Fernihough, who runs the Brownie group in Inkberrow, said the regulations were 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.
“Maybe it’s time for the law to be looked at.” But Alex Dodge, churchwarden at St Barbara’s Church, Ashton-under- Hill, said it was a sign of the times.
Mrs Dodge, who regularly makes jams, chutneys and preserves and sells them for charity, said: “I buy all my jars.
“If you can sterilise jars adequately it’s not a problem. I do think we are getting an awful lot more conscious of health and safety.”
The claims that people could be punished the regulations have been rubbished in some quarters, including Bill Newton Dunn, Liberal Democrat MEP for the East Midlands, who claimed it was nothing more than a ‘scare story’.
Frank Cranmer, secretary of CLAS, added: “The result is that the likelihood of anyone being prosecuted now looks extremely remote, even if it remains a technical possibility.”