Britain’s jam makers are facing the prospect of expensive alterations to their recipes as a result of Brussels revising its so-called “breakfast directives” related to ingredients.
And one Brexit-backing economist has said the saga “encapsulates everything that is wrong with the EU”.
EU diplomats are currently discussing new rules related to jams, jellies and marmalades which dictate the number of fruit spreads sold across the bloc must contain.
Insiders have suggested discussions are centred on an attempt to increase the fruit content of jam from 350g per kg to 450g.
One told The Telegraph: “Member states are going bananas over the fruit content percentage on types of jam.
“What is for sure is that the percentage will rise and that will directly impact British producers and exporters.”
“In this case of our breakfast directives, breakfast means Brexit.”
Britain agreed to the existing rules setting minimum fruit levels when still a member of the EU, and they remain in force after leaving.
However, the European Commission is effectively moving the goalposts, meaning UK and EU laws will be at odds.
Failure to comply will mean UK companies will not be able to sell existing products as jam on the continent, in a situation which calls to mind similar rules relating to ice cream which made headlines in the 1980s.
Catherine McBride, Senior Economist with the Institute for Economic Affairs think tank, tweeted: “Why not let customers decide what they like, and let them buy it, or not.
“This story encapsulates everything that is wrong with the EU.
“How many hours have they wasted on this?”
Jam producers are being faced with either changing their recipes, creating special export versions, or even being forced to accept their products being labelled as fruit spreads.
In addition, the Commission is proposing to permit the term marmalade, which means the same as jam in countries including Spain, to be used for jam for the first time, unless it is marmalade made from citrus fruits.
In the financial year 2022/23, Britain exported roughly 10.6 million kilograms of jam worth about £32 million, according to HMRC figures.
Rosie Jameson, who runs Rosie’s Preserving School, said: “Commercial-style producers would have to put 15 per cent more fruit in their recipes if they want to export and that would increase costs.
“And they will have increased costs whether it is a cheaper fruit pulp or pure fruit that they put in.”