WI groups are reaching boiling point after being told that the tradition of selling home-made jams at village fetes could become a thing of the past under an EU law.

Thousands of people involved in church groups and WIs who sell home-made preserves using reused jars have been warned they are breaching health and safety regulations.

A circular issued by the Churches’ Legislation Advisory Service (CLAS) sent to all Worcestershire parishes said that while members can still reuse jam jars to give to friends and family, they couldn’t be used for sale at events such as fetes, fairs and raffles.

WI groups have reacted with disbelief saying the WI is known for Jam and Jerusalem and that what people join for.

Tina Fernihough, who runs a Brownie group in the village of Inkberrow, described the regulations as absolutely ludicrous.

“It’s health and safety gone mad,” she said.

Claims that people could be punished under the regulations have been rubbished with Bill Newton Dunn, a Liberal Democrat MEP, saying it is nothing more than a scare story.

Frank Cranmer, secretary of CLAS, said: “The result is that the likelihood of anyone being prosecuted now looks extremely remote – even if it remains a technical possibility.”