Food preservers say they need a million gem lids

The women who can their food are still mad.

This week they hope to present petitions to the federal government and

the American manufacturer that they blame for their dilemma.

The Bernardin Co. announced about a year ago that it was not going to

be making lids for the quart size glass jars. Smaller jars and lids are

still being made.

Prairie women who have built up a stock of the larger jars started a

protest this summer when the lids became unavailable.

Marla Rauser, who cans about 300 jars a year, passed around petitions

in her Lloydminster, Sask., area and as of Oct. 23 she had counted

2,017 names. She expects several hundred more will be added from a

couple of petitions still outstanding.

Lori Blight, who has run an on-line petition for the past two months

asking the company to return to making the gem lids, said she had 4,320


Blight’s website, which was to close Oct. 15, also had a space allowing

home canners to note how many lids they needed. The total reached one

million last week.

Rauser said the next phase of the protest would depend on Bernardin’s

response, but to date the company has maintained its decision to drop

what it called an unprofitable line.

The gem lids issue is being documented by CBC television’s Marketplace,

which was to fly a prairie home canner to Bernardin’s manufacturing

plant in Muncie, Indiana. Unity, Sask., canner Paulette Lysyshyn said

it will be her first airplane ride.

She canned more than 2,000 jars this summer using a supply of glass

lids and rubber rings she had bought at a garage sale.

“I’m probably one of the biggest single canners outside of Hutterite


Lysyshyn said she cans up to 5,000 pounds of fruits, vegetables and

meat a year because she wants to know where her food comes from and

that it is as fresh and free of chemicals as she can buy.

She said her presentation of the petitions “won’t be the end of it.”

She wants to spread the protest across Canada.

To assist the campaign, contact Rauser at 306-825-7549 or Lysyshyn at


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