The news in the UK is currently awash with reports that reusing old glass jars for home made preserves could be breaking EU (European Union) laws and warnings have been sent out to that effect. Apparently, this practice is dangerous and anyone reusing old jars for jams, jellies, chutney et al, then selling them could risk fines of up to £5000 (this is only if you are selling the jams not giving them to friends or keeping for your own use).
I don't usually engage in debates of this type, but this one made me hopping mad because it is ridiculous. Yes, I acknowledge it is important to sterilise any jars used for preserves to remove any bacteria, yeasts or fungi to protect the food you put into the jar. Heating them in the oven, the microwave or washing in a hot wash in a dishwasher, however, will do this. The jam, chutney, marmalade or whatever you are potting should be very hot, (equally, so should the jars to make sure they don't shatter)and these preserves will have reached temperatures around 104°C - 106°C, so little chance any bug would survive in temperatures that high. I don't recommend using old jam jar lids if they are damaged or rusty, they should be thrown away as they may not make a good seal. Instead, use wax discs and cellophane or buy new lids. Otherwise, you are good to go if you have correctly followed the instructions for sterilisation.
I have been make jams, pickles and chutneys always using old jars for 40 years and never a problem and am curious to what do you think about (yet another) "bonkers" directive? Do let me know.
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