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« If at first you don't succeed.... | Main | Subsidy junkies threaten to leave »

No jam tomorrow

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Bonkers. Most home jam-makers sterlilise the jars first, for obvious reasons. I thought they wanted us to recycle everything? My God, this European Union is one from which we should be disunited.

Oct 8, 2012 at 12:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterOld Goat

If H&E is the justification, it would be interesting to know how many accidents there have been in, say, the last 20 years involving jam jars at church fetes and the like.

Oct 8, 2012 at 12:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterAgouts

Ha, ha - when the irresistable force of environmentalism meets the immovable object of bureaucracy...

I think I've said this before, but it is an anecdote well worth repeating:

When I lived in Munich in the '90s, there was a bottle bank on the next corner. On it was written a warning

"Do not use this bottlebank : between 1900-0700 Mon-Fri, after 1300 Sat, on Sundays or public holidays. Fine 100 DM."

The whole area was strewn with plastic bags full of bottles that people had dumped there. Basically whenever you were able to use the damned thing, you weren't allowed to !

Oct 8, 2012 at 12:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Barrett

This world is becoming increasingly difficult to parody. I believe Swift himself would have struggled:

I imagine the embarrassment of my first day in Belmarsh being fitted out for shivs and snout. "Six months! What are you in for Reedy?"

Oct 8, 2012 at 1:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Reed

...they are breaching European health and safety regulations.

What Europe could do with is a bit more health and a bit less safety.

Oct 8, 2012 at 1:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterScottie


' it would be interesting to know how many accidents there have been in, say, the last 20 years involving jam jars at church fetes and the like.'

I'm sure that Inspector Barnaby and his sidekick have had to investigate several such deplorable incidents in Midsomer. But back in the real world there is no part of human life so trivial that some f**k-witted officious 'public servant' can't decide that it's a worthy topic to pass more rules and regulations about.

I suggest a new sell-out ratings-topping series of TV dramas to replace Midsomer Murders.

It should be called Bureaucrat Murders. And - rather than being jailed - the glorious perp could be showered with gongs and adulation at the end. The first victim should be JamJar Man.

Oct 8, 2012 at 2:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

Bishop did you just watch Osborne,s Speech at the Tory Conference.He says hes backing Shale Gas.
"Dont want the UK to lose out"

We will see

Oct 8, 2012 at 2:22 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

This is clearly the work of Big Preserve greasing wheels in Brussels...

Oct 8, 2012 at 2:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterGareth

The problem with glass recycling is that the majority of glass sent for recycling is green or brown (wine and beer bottles). There is a shortage of clear glass items sent for recycling as people tend to reuse jars with lids for other uses. You can make coloured glass from clear glass, but not clear glass from coloured glass. This is obviously an attempt by the EU to use bureaucracy to bolster the faltering recycling industry.

Oct 8, 2012 at 2:57 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian

This is a great idea! ...err but didn't we just send the jam jar sanitizers off in Ark B?

(with apologies to Douglas Adams)

Oct 8, 2012 at 3:36 PM | Unregistered Commenterredc

I think the bureaucrat(s) who dreamt up this mad regulation should be invited to the next Women's Institute Conference and present the results of their risk assesment showing that the risks to health and safety outweigh the benefits to society of re-using jam jars and making preserves.

Oct 8, 2012 at 3:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

According to the Food Standards Agency guy on You And Yours today on BBC R4, the the legislation is designed to prevent people from reusing containers for food use because it's possible to get the transfer of chemicals from the plastic (or whatever) into the food if the wrong types of container are chosen for the wrong sort of food. It appears that the legislation is 'blanket', but not intended to prevent people from reusing glass jam jars. Indeed the spokesman went on to say that as far as he was concerned unless the jars were damaged in some way, he could see no harm whatsoever as glass was about as safe as it gets for food storage. He did concede that people could in theory be prosecuted, but that in the years that the legislation has been in force he was unaware of any attempt to do so...

Oct 8, 2012 at 4:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterSteve Crook

The thing is, it isn't the bureaucrat, is it? It's some idiot legal adviser in London reading a directive and telling the CofE they shouldn't allow jars to be flogged in fetes, which I guarantee was not the target of the directive. And instead of telling the (no doubt) junior devoid-of-sense lawyer to bugger off and a have a re-think, they spinelessly go along with it.

Germany works because they have lots of rules but very few lawyers. The USA bumbles along with not many rules but far too many lawyers. We on the other hand adopt the worst of both worlds, combining the EU's plethora of overbearing rules with an excess of pettifogging parasites. Personally I would have us leave the EU tomorrow but unless and until we put the legal 'profession' back under the rock it crawled out from and stop the entire no win/no fee advertising culture things are not going to change for the better.

Oct 8, 2012 at 4:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterSebastian Weetabix

I used to get a balloon from the rag and bone man for our used jamjars...

Oct 8, 2012 at 4:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterJiminy Cricket

Old Goat, Scottie , Latimer Alder

It's quite simple really, a high up bureaucrat has shares in a clear jam-jar (or Kilner jar) making factory which is being under cut in price by a Chinese rival. In order to save his investement stopping the re-cycling of jars is a simple option, and one that an army of jobsworths (in UK especially) will be happy to enforce.


Oct 8, 2012 at 4:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

It is demotivating to correct a mistake with an 'X' but recycling containers is punished with 6 months in jail or a 5,000 pound fine...good.

...and on an even more depressing note, has everyone observed the parallels between Penn State and the BBC: both centers of alarmism and institutionally condoned sexual abuse? (We're going to need some more independent inquiries, boys...)

Oct 8, 2012 at 4:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterZT

"And - rather than being jailed - the glorious perp could be showered with gongs and adulation at the end. The first victim should be JamJar Man." --Latimer Alder

That would be "JamJar Binks."

"...used jars...smashed up into pieces (known as cullet)..."

Q: What is a used EU commissariat smashed into pieces known as?

A: A good start.

Oct 8, 2012 at 5:05 PM | Unregistered Commenterjorgekafkazar

I once bought a corkscrew in a French supermarket mounted on a card with instructions for use on the back.
True as I'm riding this bike, as our dad used to say.

Oct 8, 2012 at 5:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn in France

It took an idiot in Brussels to think up this regulation, but I bet it took a British bureaucrat to dream up the five grand and six months.

Here in Italy, they tend to ignore rules they don't care for. I will keep an eye open for how this one fares.

Oct 8, 2012 at 7:48 PM | Unregistered CommenterJeff Wood

In theory, there must come a point when the apparently self-perpetuating proliferation of bureaucrats and regulators grinds to a halt in the face of their spiraling idiocy and the economic devastation they leave in their wake. In reality, I strongly suspect that what will actually happen is a slow but irreversible paralysis of everything that has distinguished Western civilisation over the last 300 years or so.

Rational enquiry, scientific progress, political legitimacy, an independent judiciary, freedom of speech, separation of powers, free markets . . .

They are as nothing in the face of the urgent need to prevent our being damaged by jam jars.

Oct 8, 2012 at 8:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterAgouts

This post did make me wonder whether di-hydrogen monoxide has had a risk assessment and an MSDS (marerial safety data sheet) produced for the purposes of the EU REACH legislation:

REACH is the European Community Regulation on chemicals and their safe use (EC 1907/2006). It deals with the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemical substances. The law entered into force on 1 June 2007.

One of the main reasons for developing and adopting the REACH Regulation was that a large number of substances have been manufactured and placed on the market in Europe for many years, sometimes in very high amounts, and yet there is insufficient information on the hazards that they pose to human health and the environment.

After reading the above .pdf you'll never drink Badoit or San Pellegrino again!

Oct 8, 2012 at 9:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterBilly Liar

The words "Foxtrot Oscar" spring to mind.

Oct 8, 2012 at 9:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

This looks like it is the same legal phenomenon as what we have seen in the US with the Clean Air Act now being applied to CO2. It was a piece of broadly written legislation that was then much later interpreted to apply to something the drafters of the law never intended. Unfortunately, the implications of that are much broader than what can be sold at church sales.

Oct 9, 2012 at 4:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterCurt

Not a core point perhaps but the notion in Worstall's piece that "no trees are saved by paper recycling as we make paper from trees that we grow specifically to make paper" is sufficiently silly to cast doubt on the credibility of his other points. Can't think why but I'm reminded of The Great British Sausage episode of "Yes, Minister".

It is, of course, true that the mantra "Save the rainforest, recycle this bag" is absurd because, as Worstall notes, paper is made from purpose-grown conifers not from "rain forests" but paper which includes a proportion of recycled pulp requires fewer conifers, less imported pulp, less fuel and so on.

Waste paper has been recycled to make lower-grade papers such as newsprint for decades because, within limits, it is cheaper than new pulp and perfectly fit for purpose. The practice long predates the EU, let alone its damn-fool Directives.

Oct 9, 2012 at 1:58 PM | Unregistered CommenterDaveB

John in France.

I seem to recall that it was something similar (toothpicks if memory serves) which convinced Wonko the Sane that it was time to leave.

Oct 11, 2012 at 1:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterTim Bromige

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