Jam jars and lids As a WI Preserves Judge I taste many jars of jam and other preserves made using new
 and re-cycled jam jars. In 18 years of judging, I have not experienced any illness. But when I sell
 small amounts of chutney or marmalade, I use new jars and lids bought from a national supplier.

Recent press reports have drawn attention to Article 3 of the Food Contact Material Regulations EC 1935/2004. The re-use of jam jars for food that will be sold, even at a charity event, is not permitted. The regulations stipulate that food contact materials ( e.g.jars) must be manufactured in such a way that does not allow their properties to migrate into food in quantities that could harm consumers or affect the nature or quality of the food. The difficulty is that proving this requires traceability.

lemon and lime marmaladeCurrent advice from The National Federation of Women’s Institute (NFWI ) is “jars should not be reused for jam if that jam is then going to be sold in any capacity – for charity or commercial events.” I follow this advice. New jars and lids are widely available on-line and point of sale. For groups of preservers it makes sense to buy in bulk, divide the cost and factor the price of the jar and the lid into the retail price. A well-presented jar can be sold at a higher price.
As a teacher, I encourage preservers to buy new jam jars and lids to ensure the jars are properly sealed. Unfortunately, re-using commercial jars and lids may cause problems, as an airtight seal may not be created and the lid may taint the flavour of the preserve. I would welcome the demise of the re-use of food manufacturer’s jars and lids for markets, fetes and food events.