Food by VICE

Company Claims Condom Found in Jar Is Natural Part of Jam-Making Process

As adults, most of us have seen a used condom before, and whatever is in that jam jar certainly looks like a used condom.

by Charley Lanyon
Feb 10 2017, 6:00pm

United Kingdom resident Troy Hawkins had something of a Jurassic Park moment recently when he opened up a new jar of preserves.

In the film, an eccentric industrialist uses dinosaur DNA from mosquitoes trapped in amber to create a kind of prehistoric theme park. In Hawkins' case, the "amber" was a jar of red currant jelly; the DNA receptacle was of the decidedly more modern variety—a condom; and instead of resulting in a glitch-prone dinosaur amusement park, Hawkins' discovery led only to a low-level Facebook squabble.

The whole thing started when Hawkins posted a picture of his (allegedly) freshly opened currant jelly to the Facebook wall of Co-Op Food, the supermarket chain where he bought it. Clear beneath the surface of the untouched jelly is what looks like a used condom. His caption to the picture perfectly captures that impotent rage one might feel when they come into conflict with the shoddy product of a big corporation: "What I find in a jar of your red currant jelly and you think a twenty pound vouchers [sic] is going to keep me quiet."

What was already a juicy story (apologies for that) grew into something of an internet-wide debate when Co-Op responded to the picture.

While the company did apologize—"I am really sorry, Troy, as this must have been quite alarming for you, as it was for us!"—it also denied that what Troy found was a condom at all, claiming instead that it was a natural byproduct of jam production which just happened to resemble a condom.

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Just to assure you again we have treated this very seriously indeed and after full analysis, we can assure you this was not a condom On inspection of the jam supplied, the substance was found to be a solidified white foam. Foam is often created when boiling up fruit in a high sugar solution (such as jams and jellies) … As the jar passed along the production line the movement of the jar rolled and folded the foam layer in a way that resembled a condom.

If you're especially bored at work, you might want to check out the whole comment thread and watch as scores of scandalized Britons offer their two cents—pence?—while a long-suffering Co-Op PR named Gem gamely tries to assuage their concerns.

Now, the specifics of the company's jam-making process might be something of a mystery, and we have not examined the jar in question, but as adults, most of us—and this is not intended as a boast—have seen a used condom before, and whatever is in that jam jar certainly looks like a used condom.

We're inclined to agree with random commenter Richard Coowar about the whole mess: "What ever it is it looks awful and should not be in the jam, you can see it is under the surface of the jam, it looks like a Jonny to me, co-op it looks like you have handled this badly and have not considered the impact on a family Christmas, if it was me I would be insulted by a £20 offer."

We also love how he managed to blame Co-Op for somehow ruining Christmas, even though Hawkins posted the picture on February 6.

Details, details.

food safety