The advice sheets below have the latest information on food standards. If you need more advice call 01753 475111 (Enforcement & Regulatory option).
In the guide
This guidance is for England
The labelling and composition of jam and similar products (including marmalade) is controlled by legislation. Jams made using certain types of fruit have 'reserved descriptions' that can only be used in the labelling of the product if it has been manufactured to the criteria set out in the Regulations, which also contain a list of permitted additional ingredients and treatments.
There are general labelling requirements for these products as well as requirements for specific labelling stating the fruit and sugar content.
Jams made using certain types of fruit have 'reserved descriptions', which can only be used in the labelling of the product if it has been manufactured to the criteria as set out in the Jam and Similar Products (England) Regulations 2003.
These state that the product must contain the following amounts of fruit per kilogram of finished product:
Similarly, marmalade is required to contain not less than 200g of citrus fruit per kilogram of the finished product, and at least 75g of this must come from the 'endocarp' (in citrus fruits this is the main part of the fruit - the part that is usually eaten). Marmalade can only be made from citrus fruits.
These quantities vary if the jam or marmalade is described as 'extra', 'jelly' or 'extra jelly':
Jelly marmalade is the same as marmalade, but contains no insoluble matter, except possibly for small quantities of finely sliced peel.
Sweetened chestnut puree must consist of not less than 380g of pureed chestnuts per kilogram of finished product.
All these products must have a soluble solids content of the finished product of not less than 60%, as determined by a refractometer at 20°C.
The above named products may not be classed as specified products under these Regulations if they contain any additional ingredients, other than permitted additional ingredients as set out in Schedule 2 to the Regulations.
Permitted ingredients are:
Permitted food additives are defined in the Food Additives, Flavourings, Enzymes and Extraction Solvents (England) Regulations 2013.
A product is not a specified jam or similar product if any raw material used in the preparation of that food has been subjected to any treatment, other than permitted treatments. Fruit pulp, fruit puree and aqueous extract of fruit may be treated in the following ways:
Apricots and plums to be used in the manufacture of jam may also be treated by other drying processes, apart from freeze-drying.
Citrus peel may, additionally, be preserved in brine.
'Reduced sugar jam' - this description must only be used for a food whose composition is the same as that of jam, except that its soluble solids content must not be less than 25% and not more than 50%.
Y flavour curd:
Curds and mincemeats are required to have a soluble solids content of 65% or more, as determined by a refractometer at 20°C.
Products manufactured to meet the compositional requirements of the Regulations must be labelled with the 'reserved description' in the name of the food. The name of the fruit(s) used in jams etc must be included in the product name ('strawberry jam' for example). For marmalade, the fruit type(s) must also be given.
If the product is made from more than one fruit, each type must be given.
Where a product is prepared from two types of fruit, an indication is required in the name of the foods of those types of fruits, in descending order of weight of the fruit pulp, fruit puree, fruit juice, fruit peel and aqueous extract of fruit used in the preparation of the product.
If a product is made from three or more types of fruit, an indication is required in the name of the food of those types of fruits, in descending order of weight of the fruit pulp, fruit puree, fruit juice, fruit peel and aqueous extract of fruit used in the preparation of the product. Alternatively, the words 'mixed fruit' or similar wording can be used, or the number of types of fruit used in the preparation of the product.
However, for 'X curd', X may be substituted with the name of a particular type of fruit, or the words 'mixed fruit', or the word 'fruit', preceded by an indication of the number of types of fruit used in the preparation of the food.
For 'Y flavour curd', Y may be substituted with the name of a particular type of fruit or the words 'mixed fruit'.
The declarations below are not required for curds, flavour curds or mincemeat.
The label for jams and similar products, other than those prepacked for direct sale, must include the two following statements:
A refractometer is a small piece of equipment on to which a small quantity of jam is smeared so the sugar content can be measured.
Where any specified jam or similar product has a residual sulphur dioxide content of more than 10mg/kg, that residual content must be identified in the list of ingredients - according to the percentage by weight of the residue in the product - as 'sulphur dioxide'.
These labelling requirements are in addition to the general food labelling provisions of EU Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers, which require:
EU Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 requires ingredients that characterise a food to be quantitatively declared in the ingredients list. For jams made from a single fruit, the 'prepared from Xg fruit per 100g' statement will suffice. However, where jams contain two or more different types of fruit in unequal proportions, it is necessary to declare the percentage fruit content of each type of fruit separately in the ingredients list. This does not apply if the fruits are in equal proportions or where the name of the food is 'mixed fruit jam'.
All of the types of products referred to in this guide must show an indication of quantity. This must be stated in metric quantities and must be clearly legible and not interrupted by any other written or pictorial matter. Individual portions of 25g or less are exempt from compulsory weight declarations.
Please see 'Packaged goods - average quantity' for more information.
Size of fonts must be:
|Mass or weight||Minimum height of figures|
|0 - 50g||2mm|
|>50 - 200g||3mm|
|>200g - 1kg||4mm|
For any product being made from organic ingredients and intended to be marketed as an organic product, the name of the food should still be 'X jam made from organically produced X'. An appropriate organic certification mark (such as UK2) must also be included on the label. Registration with an appropriate United Kingdom certification body is also required. Please see also 'Labelling & describing organic food', which explains the extra legal controls that apply.
The use of the terms 'jam' and 'jelly' are permitted where in use as a customary name - for example, 'jelly babies', 'mint jelly', 'table jelly' - and where this will not mislead the consumer.
The terms 'conserve', 'preserve', and 'fruit spread' are not reserved descriptions and products with these names would not be required to meet specific compositional standards.
Failure to comply may result in an improvement notice being issued, requiring compliance to be achieved. If the improvement notice is not complied with it is an offence under the Food Safety Act 1990. The maximum penalty is a fine and two years' imprisonment.
If allergen information does not comply with the requirements it is an offence under the Food Information Regulations 2014. The maximum penalty is a fine.
Last reviewed / updated: December 2016
This information is intended for guidance; only the courts can give an authoritative interpretation of the law.
The guide's 'Key legislation' links may only show the original version of the legislation, although some amending legislation is linked to separately where it is directly related to the content of a guide. Information on amendments to UK legislation can be found on each link's 'More Resources' tab; amendments to EU legislation are usually incorporated into the text.