Theresa May's Official Stance on Moldy Jam: Just Scrape It Off, Who Cares

With many Brits stockpiling food ahead of Brexit, this advice could come in handy soon.
moldy jar of jam
Photo: Getty Images

There are less than two months until the United Kingdom officially leaves the European Union, which means that the UK could be less than two months from the real shitshow. At this point, everyone seems to be bracing themselves for a no-deal Brexit, and “bracing themselves” means that the next episode of Hoarders might feature, like, 66 million people.

London’s Heathrow Airport has started stockpiling rubber gloves and spare parts for its baggage systems, the National Health Service (NHS) is hoarding body bags, and a company called Gate Gourmet is accumulating as much airplane food as it can to ensure that post-Brexit flights can still feed their passengers.


Thousands of residents are filling their cabinets with as many non-perishable foods as they can, in the event of lengthy food shortages—which the CEOs of Britain’s biggest grocery chains have already warned the government about. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Theresa May has admitted that she’ll scrape the mold off the top of a jar of jam, then eat what’s underneath it. NO REASON TO PANIC, ANYONE!

According to the Daily Mail, May made this admission during a Cabinet discussion about food waste. An unnamed source said that May described the remaining jam as “perfectly edible,” and said that people should use “common sense” when deciding whether to eat something, or whether to throw it away. That kind of “common sense” might come in handy, if grocery shelves are empty for any amount of time. Just cut the mold off of… everything! Chin up, you’ll be fine—just start stockpiling some anti-diarrheals, too.

But for what it’s worth, several years ago, mold expert Dr. Patrick Hickey told the BBC that mold-scraping was fine, and that the jam underneath would be perfectly safe to eat. (But he did warn against eating moldy nuts, slimy vegetables, questionable apples, or any soft cheeses if mold is present. Tape that list to your fridges, Brexiteers.)

After May’s admission, Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn quickly said that he’d never do such a thing. “Jeremy's love of both making and consuming jam is well-known, and as such he personally never gets to the point of scraping or chucking mold," his spokesperson said. And yes, Corbyn does make his own jam using blackberries he grows in his allotment garden. (He has shared his recipe on Instagram, and has also joked that strawberry-loving schoolchildren have “terrible taste” in jam.)

An official spokesperson for 10 Downing Street was less matter-of-fact than May was, saying only that the decision to scrape or not to scrape was “a matter for the individual.” Good luck, Britons. We hope that, in 44 days, you’ll still have jam, moldy or not.