Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 28 May 2016

Daft EU jar rule creates a real pickle

By Lindy McDowell

Published 11/10/2012

Good taste: WI calendar girls are carefully posed
Good taste: WI calendar girls are carefully posed

Bad news for the Women's Institute, famous for its jam and Jerusalem and much-copied Calendar Girls calendar featuring naked members shielding their bits with strategically placed cupcakes and pickled preserves.

Their jam jars are under attack. From the European parliament, no less.

Under EU rules (health and safety, naturally) it is apparently now an offence to offer for sale, conserves, jams, chutneys, you name it, in reused jars. Those in breach of rules could be fined - up to £5,000 - or even face jail. Is the law against the distribution of crack cocaine quite so robust?

What a pickle for the WI! Indeed for all those groups that depend on making a bob or two at the annual fundraising fair from homemade gooseberry and blackcurrant.

You'd think, given the state of the euro, Spain and Greece, EU bureaucrats would have more important things to bother themselves with than the provenance of the pot containing a bit of rhubarb and ginger.

Apparently not. And so much for recycling too, boys.

The Westminster minister for jam-pots - or, if you prefer, Environment - is Owen Paterson, late of this parish. Mr Paterson (left) has called for common sense to prevail. But common sense is not so common in Brussels that anyone there has ever had to consider bottling the surplus.

Mr Paterson points out that thus far no one has been prosecuted for poor jamjar management. And it seems that it is permissible to pass on jam in a reused container to family or friends. So long as it's not at a public event.

As for those Calendar Girls preserving their modesty with a cleverly placed pot of pickle.

Expect even more scrutiny of their jamjars.

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