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Burnham MP sparks jam debate
BURNHAM and Highbridge MP Tessa Munt has sparked a major debate.....about jam.
Ms Munt spoke out following the Government's decision to revise regulations on jams, jellies and marmalades.
Until now, she said, “a product labelled as 'jam' had a minimum of 60% sugar content and consequently had the traditional qualities of British jams, a natural product without additives, a good colour, consistency, gloss and a long shelf-life.”
However, she said changes introduced by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs would cut the minimum sugar level to 50% - potentially leading to products that look like a “gloopy sludge” and also potentially misleading consumers about what they are buying.
She said: “At the heart of this is making sure consumers know what they're getting, and protecting British classics like toast and jam, and the great West Country cream tea.
“So often I hear people complaining about finding it hard to tell exactly what is in the jars on our supermarket shelves, this Defra decision will confuse and potentially mislead the consumer more.”
She added: “Jam-making is an important industry in the West Country.”
Rosemary Jameson, from the Guild of Jam and Preserve Makers, praised Ms Munt for highlighting the issue, adding: “Our members are largely from the artisan traditional production world - and there are many thousands of such people, small producers making a traditional product who successfully supply local markets.
“I do not believe that the proposed changes support this part of the industry in this country, far from it.”
South-West MEP Graham Watson also spoke out, to counter claims the EU had forced the changes on Britain.
He said: “In theory this ruling will cut down bureaucracy, open the market to greater choice and give consumers the option to eat runny or thick jam as they so wish. And to portray this otherwise as Brussels telling people what they can and can't do is disingenuous and misleading.”