At present the Jams and Similar Products ( England) Regulations 2003 require Jams to be a mixture, brought to a suitable gelled consistency, of sugars, the pulp or purée or both of one or more kinds of fruit and water, with a soluble dry matter content of at least 60%.
For products labelled as “reduced sugar”, the product must have a soluble dry matter content of not less than 25%, and not more than 50%.
The 60% regulation has its origins in the UK as far back as the 1920s. As part of their work during that decade, researchers at Long Ashton Research Station, Bristol investigated the role of sugar in prolonging the shelf-life of jam. The recommendation was 60% sugar, for jam with no additives and a good shelf life.
Those who want to make a reduced sugar jam can already make jams with a sugar content between 25% and 50%. In Denmark, France and Germany regulations have been amended to allow 55%. However they use different methods to make their Jams without the traditional gelled consistency of British Jam.
The Food Policy Unit at DEFRA has opened a consultation to amend the regulations. The consultation will include the following options:
Option 1: Reduce the permitted sugar level for jams from 60% to 50%
Option 2: Reduce the permitted sugar level for jams from 60% to 55% with an ingredient specific exemption for Bramley apples to a level of 50%.
Please support our petition to keep the 60% regulation and Keep Jam as Jam!