[NAFEX] Jam, jelly and preserves

Jim Fruth jfruth at uslink.net
Thu Jul 28 08:04:23 EDT 2005

   As many of you know, we make jam, jelly and preserves for sale
commercially and we grow all of the fruit that is in it.
   We were recently dealt a blow from the USDA.  We have always strove to
make a low-sugar product which most folks really appreciate.  Then, one day,
not long ago, our inspector sent samples of our products to the USDA's lab.
When the results came back, we were told that we are in violation of federal
law in that we are mis-labeling our products:  In order to call any of our
products "jam," "jelly" or "preserves," they MUST contain 65% sugar, by
weight.  If it contains less sugar, we have to call it something else.
   That would not be a problem if we just sold at farmers' markets but we
also sell on-line.  Let's say that we called it "spread."  Does anyone go
on-line and google the word, "spread?"  Obviously not!  So, in order to sell
on-line we must comply with USDA's ruling and increase our sugar content.
   Next, alot of NAFEXers, et. al., are going to think the sugar companies
are behind the 65% law.  Not so!  I've taken enough coursework in
Bacteriology to know that Clostridium botulinus cannot grow in a medium that
contains 65% sugar.  The USDA didn't say why the law exists but there is no
doubt that it was enacted to protect the public from botulism poisoning.
   Henceforth, to comply with the law, our jams, jellies and preserves will
contain 65% sugar.  Oddly, there is no legal standards for no-sugar products
and we do make several to serve our diabetic customers.

Jim Fruth
Brambleberry Farm
Pequot Lakes, MN

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