Jams/jellies/preserves labeling

March 16, 2011


Good morning – It’s a beautiful spring like day here in Northern Michigan.

I am back on my label reading tirade. Since my husband and I do not eat processed foods, I asked my friends and family to save food labels for me. It is astounding what Americans eat. I have the boxes, cans and jars spread all across my office floor and I wonder where to begin.

The first item I picked up was a jar of Smucker’s. That makes jams/jellies/preserves today’s topic. Let’s take a look:

Smucker’s Simply Fruit
FRUIT SYRUP, STRAWBERRIES, LEMON JUICE CONCENTRATE, FRUIT PECTIN, RED GRAPE JUICE CONCENTRATE ADDED FOR COLOR, NATURAL FLAVORS.

I got on Smucker’s website and pulled up the ingredients for the jam and preserves:

Smucker’s Strawberry Jam
STRAWBERRIES, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, CORN SYRUP, SUGAR, FRUIT PECTIN, CITRIC ACID.

Smucker’s Strawberry Preserves
STRAWBERRIES, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, CORN SYRUP, SUGAR, FRUIT PECTIN, CITRIC ACID.

Then, I went to the Kraft Foods website and got their strawberry jam ingredients list.
Kraft Strawberry Jam
Sugar, strawberries, water, citric acid, fruit pectin

And finally, to Bonne Mamam which is now available at WalMart.
Bonne Maman Strawberry Preserves
Strawberries, Sugar, Cane Sugar, Concentrated Lemon Juice, Fruit Pectin.

Homemade jam ingredients
Fruit, pectin, sugar, lemon juice.

I have to say that I am highly disappointed in Smucker’s. When you watch their commercials on television, it sounds and looks like Smucker’s preserves are a good wholesome food. That is not the case. The Simply Fruit label begins with fruit syrup – what is that? What is in fruit syrup? Due to the word “syrup”, I am assuming there most likely contains some type of corn syrup. What kind of fruit? Since jams/jellies/preserves are sweet, I can guarantee there is a lot of sweetener in fruit syrup. And, what are natural flavors? I am fairly certain it is not fruit or it would be clearly stated on the label. On to the Jam and Preserves. Did you notice that the ingredients are exactly the same? What is the difference between Smucker’s Jam and Preserves? I do not know. Both products contain both high fructose corn syrup (which we should NEVER eat) and corn syrup (listed twice on each product on the Smucker’s website) and sugar. That is a lot of sweetener. After looking at these labels I felt the need to continue my search.

Kraft Strawberry Jam was the next item in my search. The ingredients looked fairly straight forward. I can pronounce all the ingredients – which is a good thing. The citric acid is laboratory created substitute for lemon juice. I would have preferred to see lemon juice on the label, but after looking at Kraft compared to Smucker’s I know which of the two I would pick.

I went to Bonne Maman’s website and again, I can pronounce all of the ingredients and they do use lemon juice.

All jams/jellies/preserves should be consumed in very small quantities due to their heavy sugar content, but if you are going to eat them, you need to do your label reading prior to purchase.

Please remember: If you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it. If you don’t understand the ingredients, don’t eat it. And, if it contains high fructose corn syrup, don’t eat it.

I will be back with more labels. Take care and enjoy your day.
Dr. Wendy

 231-348-0838           pattonwendy@gmail.com

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