Charity jam makers need 'common sense' to avoid health risk

Homemade jam Mrs Cameron said free advice was available for anyone preparing food for charity

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Common sense needs to be used when using old jars for jam making, Guernsey's director of environmental health has said.

It follows concerns raised in the UK that local authorities may enforce Food Standards Agency regulations from 2004, affecting jam sold at small events.

Val Cameron said laws ensured food safety to protect human health and to prevent food poisoning.

She said producers needed to make sure basic safety measures were taken.

Keeping your jam safe

Strawberry jam
  • Inspect old jars to make sure there are no cracks or chips and thoroughly clean them
  • Store old jars in the house, not the garage or shed where they could be contaminated
  • Put your jam/chutney into the jars while they are still hot from the oven
  • Place a seal over the food. As it cools this will contract to ensure a good seal, which will keep the air out to stop mould and fungal growth
  • Put a label on the jar with the contents and date of production

Source: Guernsey's Office of Environmental Health and Pollution Regulation

Mrs Cameron said: "In Guernsey, we do adhere to EC [European Community] Food Regulations where appropriate, but these are always applied in a Guernsey context, using a sensible, proportionate and risk-based approach.

"The members of the Women's Institute, or other charity groups, generally make small amounts of food products for 'one-off' fund-raising events. They are, therefore, not food business operators.

"The type of jam and chutney mentioned... is of low risk because it is very high in sugar or acid, which prevents the growth of most micro-organisms that cause food poisoning.

"It is not the intention of the law in question, or this department, to prevent the use of jam jars in this context, providing simple food safety measures are adhered to."

She urged people with concerns about their produce to phone her office for advice.

Anyone making food for sale on five days in five consecutive weeks is seen as a food business operation and has to register with the Guernsey's Office of Environmental Health and Pollution Regulation.

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