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Canned Goods

Jam ingredients and labelling

This topic contains 3 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by  David Crabill 7 years, 2 months ago.

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    Hi. I am looking into getting my CFO license to make and sell blackberry jam from home in California. I’m a little confused on the requirements for making / labelling jam. From what I understand the fruit/sugar ratio for berry jams has to be 47/55 or .85… which means more sugar than fruit. For example, 34 ounces of strawberries would need 40 ounces of sugar. I don’t typically use this much sugar in my jam so I will have to adapt my recipe. However, I see that the labeling requirements say that ingredients must be listed in “in descending order of predominance by weight, if the product contains two or more ingredients.” In my experience, the jams that I have seen on the market list the fruit first and the sugar second, even when made in a home kitchen. Am I misunderstanding the law or labeling requirement? Is it because some of the sugar will cook off during the process of making the jam? Is there some way around using that much sugar? I feel like I’ve read over this multiple times and would appreciate any advice or clarification any of you may have. Thank you!


    David Crabill

    I just checked out CFR 21 again, and although that is usually pretty confusing to me, it does look pretty clear that a blackberry jam needs a 47/55 ratio. Also, this seems correct to me… jams and jellies typically need more sugar than fruit.

    In the case of the CFO jams you’ve seen in the market, that’s likely a mistake by the producer. In the case of commercial products, companies will often use two different types of sugar to allow them to put the fruit first in the ingredient list. This Smucker’s jam is an example.

    However, commercial food processors can sell low-sugar jam, which needs to be lab-tested and adhere to strict processing controls. To sell low-sugar jam, you can’t use the cottage food law.


    Eli Wrathall


    I just read through this thread, and wanted to ask some questions. I run a registered CFO in California selling jams and marmalade.

    All of my products are made using low sugar recipes. The pectin brand that I use is specifically designed for low sugar jams, and I know they supply to many CFO or similar businesses. I even know of a local CFO that makes jams with no added cane sugar, just fruit juice I believe.

    So my question – is what mine business and others are doing technically allowed?

    Eli Wrathall
    Wrathall’s Gourmet Preserves


    David Crabill

    Eli, jams and jellies sold under the cottage food law need to adhere to CFR 21 — this requirement is listed in the law itself and cannot be overridden by a health dept. So the short answer is no, what you are doing is not legal. You need to use a commercial kitchen to produce low-sugar jams.

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