East Lancs MPs wade into battle to stop Government cutting sugar levels in jam (From Burnley and Pendle Citizen)
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East Lancs MPs wade into battle to stop Government cutting sugar levels in jam
EAST Lancashire MPs got into a sticky debate yesterday over Government proposals to reduce sugar levels in jams from 60 per cent to 50 per cent.
Defra, the Government department responsible for food regulations in England, held a consultation earlier this year and said new rules on what can pass for jam and marmalade outside of the UK would boost trade and make it easier for British producers to export their goods.
Raising a debate in Parliament, Tessa Munt, MP for Wells in Somerset, called on the Government to think again and East Lancashire MPs agreed that jams should remain on the breakfast table.
She said cutting the amount of sugar that must be used to call something jam would leave people eating the ‘coloured mud’ favoured by the French, Germans and Americans.
Currently, any product with less than 60 per cent sugar must be called a spread and not jam or marmalade.
Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle said that the consumer should decide.
He said: “For once I agree with Tessa. It’s not up to the Government how much sugar goes into the jam. I don’t agree, to be honest, because it will completely change the taste of one of this popular product.
“I buy a lot of jam locally and it’s natural in sugar. The consumer should decide on what it is they want to buy and I am astonished that the Government would want to spoil jams.”
Jake Berry, MP for Rossendale and Darwen, said that traditional jams should be kept on the breakfast table. He said: “I would say that that jam should stay as traditional as possible.
“It seems silly at a time when programmes such as the Great British Bake Off are so popular that the Government would want to reduce the sugar levels.
“Keeping traditional spreads on the breakfast table is important for reconnecting people with local produce too. It seems odd, but personally I prefer marmalade.”
The change will initially only affect England, but Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are expected to follow suit.
A number of manufacturers said they would be in favour of lowering the minimum sugar requirement, officials reported.
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