13 Brand Tested
By all means, jam–bread is cuisine of nostalgia. That there must be jam lovers’ communities will hardly come as a surprise to many of us. In Greece, jams, known as glyko, are eaten by the spoonful from bowls, followed by a drink of water, then a drink of liqueur. They are delicacies that were once considered medicinal preparations. If only to remind ourselves, jams, preserves and marmalades are based on ancient techniques for preserving fruit. The interaction of the fruit, sugar, acid and pectin in the correct proportions has long been of primary concern. The right balance is what makes the mixture gel. But then, is the common gelling agent pectin used within limits in commercially sold jams? What is the actual fruit content in your favourite jam? Does it meet the basic requirements? What do we know about their acidity and how much preservatives do they need? Are there pesticide residues, or heavy metals such as arsenic, lead, copper, zinc and tin? What are the chances of microbiological contamination? This report is a firsthand study of 13 brands available with various retailers in India and while the high total sugar content of jams should make us wary of consuming them regularly, there are key parameters on which all the brands met the requirements set out by the national standards.
The comparative testing carried out in an NABL-accredited laboratory was mainly based on the Indian Standard IS: 5861: 1993 (specifications for jams, jellies and marmalades) and FSS Rules, 2011. The objective was to assess and evaluate the regular/most-selling variety/type of jams traded in the retail market in packaged condition. It may be noted that while fruit contents quantification method is yet to be established, there are other parameters that determine the quality of a good fruit jam.
Fruit jam is one the processed foods that is consumed by a large chunk of the urban and semiurban population; it is estimated that the normal one-