Jams & Similar Products Requirements for Small Packers & Direct Sellers
This advice is designed to provide basic guidance to traders. It is not a complete or authoritative statement of the law.
The Jam & Similar products Regulations provide specific labelling and compositional requirements for Jams, jellies, marmalades, curds, mincemeat and sweetened chestnut purée. The Food Labelling Regulations 1996 also apply to these products and provide some exemptions allowing reduced labelling information in prepacked for direct sale situations.
What are Reserved Descriptions?
'Jam'; 'Extra Jam'; 'Jelly'; 'Extra Jelly'; 'Marmalade'; 'Jelly Marmalade'; 'Sweetened Chestnut Puree'; ''X' Curd'; 'Lemon Cheese'; ''Y flavour Curd'; & 'Mincemeat':
These are the names which may only be used if a product meets the compositional requirements laid down in the Regulations.
Note : the terms 'preserve' and 'conserve' are not reserved descriptions. These may, however, be used as marketing descriptions in addition to the reserved description.
What are the compositional requirements?
These fall into 3 categories and vary depending upon the product.
Minimum content requirements. These are usually a minimum fruit requirement (which varies according to the product and fruit used) and a minimum soluble solids (sugars) requirement (generally 60% but 65% for curds and mincemeat)
A restricted list of permitted additional ingredients. (i.e. 'Jam' may contain fruit juice but 'Extra Jam' may not).
Restrictions on the treatments which can be applied to the fruit used. ( i.e. sulphur dioxide may be used on fruits for 'Jam' but not 'Extra Jam'.)
For a summary of the compositional requirements please see our Jam and Similar Products (England) Regulations 2003 Compositional Requirements leaflet.
Full details can be found in the Regulations.
Can I make a Reduced Sugar Jam?
Yes. For Jams, Jellies and Marmalades the Regulations now provide for two ways of doing this either:-
The sugar can be wholly or partially replaced by permitted sweeteners (in which case there are specific additional labelling requirements under the Food Labelling Regulations ) or:-
The product can have the sugar reduced such that the residual soluble solids content is between 25% and 50%. (Such a product must be labelled as Reduced Sugar ' x'). (This may be achieved by using fruit sugars)
In either case these products must still comply with the other compositional requirements.
What are the labelling requirements?
These Regulations make specific requirements that Jams, Jellies, and Marmalade are labelled with:
The proportion of (raw) fruit used in the preparation of the product in the form:- "prepared with 'y' g of fruit per 100g".
The total sugar content in the form:- "total sugar content 'y' g per 100g".
The proportion of sugar declared is the total soluble solids content determined using a refractometer at 20°C accurate to +/- 3 refractometer degrees. A refractometer is an instrument which can measure the % sugar of the product. In order to be sure you comply with the Regulations you should purchase or borrow a refractometer to use each time you make a batch of the product.
In addition The Food Labelling Regulations require
The name of the food - This must include the reserved description. With the exception of fruit flavour curd and mincemeat, the type(s) of fruit used in the preparation of the food must be indicated in descending order of weight in the name of the food. For foods prepared from three or more types of fruit the word 'mixed fruit' or 'x fruit' may be used.
List of ingredients - These must be listed in descending order of weight calculated prior to cooking and must include any additives present. (If a compound ingredient is used a full breakdown of its ingredients is now required.) Water should be listed in the order of its weight in the finished product. This weight can be calculated by deducting the total weight of other ingredients used from the total weight of the finished product. If the product contains a specified allergenic ingredient this must be named in the ingredients list or specifically highlighted elsewhere on the labelling. (for Jams, Curds and Mincemeat the most likely allergens are nuts in mincemeat and sulphur dioxide preservative)
An appropriate durability indication - This will usually be "best before " followed by the date up to which food can reasonably be expected to retain its specific properties if properly stored and any storage conditions which need to be followed if the food is to keep those properties until that date. If this date is 3 months or less from production the best before date can be in terms of a day and month only. If this date is between 3 months and 18 months it can be in terms of a month and year only, if the words used are "best before end" plus the date
(Lot Marking Regulations require foods to carry a traceability or 'lot mark' - this the way in which a particular batch of product can be identified. The best before date can be used as the lot mark unless you wish to put a separate lot mark on your goods. The lot mark/best before date should be recorded against the date on which a particular batch of a product was made so that it is traceable and the record kept in a safe place.)
Your name/business name and an address/registered address
QUID (Quantitative ingredient declaration) Generally this is a % indication of named or characterising ingredients. This is not required for the named fruit of single fruit products (the information is already given in the prepared with 'x' g of fruit declaration). However it is required where two or more fruits are mentioned in the name of the food e.g. blackberry and apple jam or any other named ingredients are added e.g. honey or alcohol, then the % of the fruit and/or added ingredient must be stated next to the relevant ingredient either in the name or the ingredients list.
An indication of quantity by net weight (see Weights and Measures section below).
The selling price of the goods - this can be on the individual pots, the shelf edge or an associated notice.
Does the information have to be displayed in a particular manner?
The name of the food, the best before date, the statements of fruit & sugar content per 100g, and the quantity marking must all appear in the same field of vision, i.e. all clearly visible from a single view point without moving the product/package.
Are there any exemptions?
Yes. There are reduced labelling requirements in two situations
Pre-packed foods for direct sale
“Prepacked for direct sale” means prepacked by a retailer for sale by him on the premises where the food is packed or from a vehicle or stall used by him.
Note: all the elements of the definition must be met for this exemption to apply.
Labelling requirements are reduced for these sales but the following information must always be indicated:
A true descriptive name.
Any of the following additive categories included in the products:
antioxidant, colour, flavouring, flavour enhancer, preservative, sweetener.
The nominal quantity. (see weights and measures section below
The selling price.
No other labelling is required by law when goods are for direct sale only.
However it is recommended that specific allergen information is given if the product contains any specified allergenic ingredients.
The compositional standards will still apply.
Companies Registered under the Industrial and Provident Societies Act 1965
Such Companies including WI Country Markets Ltd are exempt from part II of the Food Labelling Regulations. In practice this means that goods packed by such companies need only be marked with the quantity and the price. However, it is recommended that they at least are labelled with the same information as goods prepacked for direct sale.
Weights and Measures Requirements
Traditionally these products have been packed for retail sale in prescribed quantities.
In April 2009 these were deregulated and jams, jellies and marmalades curds and mincemeat may now be packed in any metric quantity. This chosen quantity must be clearly labelled on the jar or container as an indication of quantity by net weight.
The minimum height of the numbers used to indicate the quantity must be as follows:
For quantities of more than 50g up to 200g - 3mm
For quantities of more than 200g up to 1 kg - 4mm
The easiest way to ensure the quantity in each jar is at least the quantity declared, is to weigh each jar empty and then again when full of product
A trade use "stamped scale" should be used. This is a scale which has been passed as fit for use for trade and stamped by a Trading Standards Officer or other approved body within the EC. The scale intervals should be no more than 5g for an analogue (dial) machine and no more than 2g for a digital machine.
For more information on equipment see our factsheet:'Weighing Equipment in Use For Trade'.