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More Jam Vicar? That will be £5000 and six months in prison

Tom Winnifrith
Tuesday 9 October 2012

There was a long debate a few years ago about whether the Evil Empire had banned bananas that were too bendy. The Guardian and its broadcasting arm (the BBC) said this was just a scare story put about by loony Eurosceptics. Until one such loon (my uncle, Christopher Booker) just pointed out the exact EU directive which did indeed seek to ban bendy bananas. Having swept away the curse of bendy bananas from the shores on Europe the EU is now intent on saving us from another dire threat – home made jam. No doubt Polly Toynbee is at this very moment penning a piece from her Tuscan retreat about how this is all another myth from the xenophobes. But oh no. It is true.

EC Regulations 1935/2004 and 2023/2006 ban glass containers from being re-used un less specifically designed for that purpose. So I can make home-made jam but I need to buy a new container to put it in rather than recycling an old one. How very green. Apparently this daft law was introduced in 2004 but has only just come to light thanks to the Church of England (I knew that it must have some purpose in life) which has written to parishes saying that while members can still re-use old jam jars to give to family and friends, they can no longer sell their preserves in them at public events like fairs, fetes and raffles. Apparently the National Federation of Women’s Institutes (NFWI) has now offered similar advice to its 210,000 members.

According to the According to the Food Standards Agency, the rule was introduced in 2004 and applies to all food packaging. The FSA ( that is the food folks, not the financial regulator or the Islamofascist rebel alliance in Syria who Mitt Romney wishes to arm) admits that it is “ not aware of any evidence indicating that re-use of jam jars presents a food safety concern in terms of migration of chemicals from jam jars into food.” But the FSA says that it is up to local authority environmental health officers as to whether to prosecute. Given the track record of these jobsworth Nazis that is only a matter of time. And the FSA admits that “offenders” could face a £5,000 fine or 6 months in the slammer.

This is a farce. It is not environmentally friendly at all and, as you know, I am a diehard green and so am appalled. It denies local churches and charities a much needed source of income: I wonder what my step mother Helen who is a stalwart of Shipston-on-Stour church but also a total EU-loon will make of this? And it delivers no health benefits at all while creating added powers and costs for the State bureaucracy. Of course, like 50% of all UK laws, it was not debated in Westminster (where even our MPs would not be daft enough to pass this sort of rubbish) but was simply imposed on us by the Evil Empire.

I feel a strong urge to make some pickle to sell on-line along with the Fox steaks I wish to prepare( I am still waiting for someone to send me a Fox carcass) and Guinea pig pate which I am planning. Camden Council is the sort of local authority which strikes me as likely to employ total imbeciles as its environmental health officers – maybe myself and Real Man Pizza Company manager Aldo could become the “Camden Two Jam martyrs?”

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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