Europe bans WI from using second-hand jam jars
WOMEN'S Institute jam makers have been hit by an EC ban on reusing jars ahead of this weekend's Beverley Apple Fest.
The regulations prevent containers being reused for selling jam or chutney unless they are specifically designed for that purpose.
WI organisers and Church of England leaders have written to their members about the risks of breaking the rules.
Anyone flouting the ban could face a £5,000 fine or even jail.
CAR KEYS AND REMOTES "FREE REMOTE KEY FOB BATTERY" 01482 423414 ...View details
FOR ALL YOUR CAR KEY NEEDS CALL US NOW ON
SNAPPED KEYS, LOST KEYS, KEYS LOCKED IN VEHICLES,
WE ALSO REPAIR 90% OF ALL REMOTES AND KEYS, NO FIX NO CHARGE.
Terms: FREE REMOTE KEY FOB BATTERY ONE PER CUSTOMER
Contact: 01482 423414
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
Critics say the ruling will damage church fetes, scout groups and school fundraisers across the East Riding.
Hazel Armstrong, of Aldbrough WI, will be selling preserves in new jars at Sunday's Apple Fest.
She said: "This ruling is absolute rubbish. As usual, they have gone too far.
"It's some jobsworth somewhere that has decided the glass industry needs a boost."
Mrs Armstrong, affectionately known as Mrs Chutney in WI circles because of her preserve-producing prowess, fears the wider impact of the jar recycling ban will be devastating.
She said: "It's going to severely affect churches and scout groups who make jams and chutneys for charity.
"There's a lady in Ferriby I know who sells marmalade for charity. She'll be beside herself."
The National Federation of Women's Institutes (NFWI) has warned all its 210,000 members about the legal implications of reusing jam jars under the snappily-titled EC Regulations 1935-2004 and 2023-2006.
Ruth Bond, chairwoman 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."
With jam and chutney sold at thousands of church fetes and galas, the Church of England has been forced to write to parishes warning them conserves should not be sold in jars that have been previously used.
"You can reuse jam jars at home, and you can use them for private gifts to friends; what you are not allowed to do is to make jam, put it in reused jam jars, then either sell it or even give it away at a public event," warns a circular from the Churches' Legislation Advisory Service.
The circular warned members: "This looks like a spoof, but it's not.
"We contacted the Food Standards Agency (FSA) and were told that this is, in fact, the case."
Churches, particularly in rural communities, across the East Riding rely on tabletop sales to raise money for vital repairs.
Helen Audley, who led the push to raise £47,000 to renew bells at All Saints' Church, Roos, said: "Anybody that makes jam always washes out the jars. All this red tape will put people off fundraising."
The FSA says local authorities will be enforcing the rules and it is for them to decide when sales are "commercial".
For Mrs Chutney, who took and passed a specialist WI Preserves Course ten years ago, even if the rules are enforced, they will pose no problems. At Sunday's Apple Fest in the Millennium Orchard at Beverley Parks she will be selling preserves, as she always does, in bought jars.
"We're trying to discover who, in the past 600 years since glass was invented, has been killed by glass infections," she said.
"But I use new jars so I know the weight. Even so, I'm still cheaper than most people."
Beverley Apple Fest will run from 11am to 3pm. The venue will be signposted from Long Lane in Beverley.