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Beware of Fake Ball Canning Jar Lids for Sale on Amazon

I didn’t plan on canning food this year until I got a deal on tomatoes at a farm stand on their last day of the season. On my way home from the farm stand I swung by a grocery store to buy mason jar lids and was greeted by empty shelves in the canning supply aisle. I whipped out my phone and ordered Ball brand lids from Amazon. I laughed to myself at how often I end up online shopping while standing in a brick and mortar store for this very reason.  I finished my IRL shopping, drove home and canned as much tomato sauce as I could with the supplies I already had on hand.

When I got my Amazon order the printing on the boxes looked strange and out of focus – like someone printed an enlarged .jpeg from online. I opened a box and immediately knew the Ball Mason jar canning lids I bought from what I now know was an Amazon third party seller are counterfeit – dangerous FAKES.

how to tell if Ball canning jar lids are real
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The Amazon listing for  regular Ball Mason Jar Lids  I bought the lids from was the first one listed on the Amazon app and was marked Number 1 Seller.  It had a link to Amazon’s Ball brand store (just like any other major brand sold by Amazon) and a product photo that looks like the legit Ball lids I’ve used a thousand times before. I didn’t bother scrolling down to Customer Comments and Reviews sections of the page because I didn’t need to research the product. It’s a canning jar lid just like the dozens of used canning jar lids I already have. (NOTE: You CANNOT reuse a canning jar lid that has already been used to water bath or pressure can food!)

If I had, I would have found that all of the customer reviews said they in good faith ordered Ball brand canning jar lids from that Amazon listing and received counterfeit canning jar lids that won’t seal during water bath or pressure canning. Not sealing  is the thing that concerns me the most because if someone tries to preserve food  with the fake Ball canning jar lids, the jars won’t seal and could allow dangerously bacteria grow and  containment the food in jar. Yikes!

I contacted Amazon and told them one of their third party sellers is selling counterfeit products.  All Amazon  did was tell me how to return them and get a refund. Frankly, I’m more concerned about returning the lids and the seller sending them to a newbie canner who gets duped into using them than getting my 20 bucks back.

I also contacted Ball and their parent company Newell Brands (Newell bought Ball and Kerr’s former parent company Jarden Corporation in 2016)  letting them know that this third party seller is stealing their trademark.

Ball sent me a form letter that basically said we’re really busy. I hope you can return them and get a refund!  Which does nothing to stop this person from duping anyone else. 

How to Spot Counterfeit Ball Mason Jar Lids


how to spot fake canning jar lids
It was hard to take a photo of the counterfeit lid boxes that shows exactly how out of focus the printing is on the box. It looks even more wonky in real life.

This is how Ball described what their canning jar lids look like in their email to me:

“Please be informed that we only manufacture lids with logos of Ball® or Kerr® Brand on top of lids and is all made in USA. Our official website is www.freshpreserving.com. Any lids or other products sold by other retailers without our brand logos are possible counterfeit.”

From the box alone you can tell something is not quite right. Unfortunately, I don't have a real Ball regular canning lid box to show you a side by side comparison which makes the counterfeit box glaringly obvious.

 

  • The printing on the fake Ball canning lid box is slightly out of focus. It looks like someone enlarged and printed a bad photo or possibly one from the Internet.

 

  • The front of the counterfeit Ball regular canning lid  says the package contains wide mouth Ball jar lids while the printing on  top and bottom box flaps read, Ball Regular Mouth Lids.

 

  • The artwork on the sides of the box are also printed out of focus, the print is too small to read, and it doesn’t fill the space on the side of the box.

 I pulled two real regular mouth Ball canning lids to compare them to the fake regular mouth Ball lids. Even though my real Ball lids are used (you can tell by the imprint from the top of the Mason jar I used in the sealing compound) the differences are pretty clear.

Here is a side by side comparison of two real regular mouth Ball canning jar lids next to the fake counterfeit lids I got from the seller on Amazon:

 how to tell if Ball canning jar lids are real

 These are older Ball brand lids I have on hand. The printing on the legit Ball lids may have changed slightly from the lids I've had for a few years and are what I am showing here. I can't really compare because I can't find a real Ball lid for sale during the rest of the 2020 canning season. 

  • Real regular mouth Ball canning lids have the Ball trademark printed on them. The fake regular mouth Ball canning lids don’t have any writing on them at all.

 

  • Real regular mouth Ball canning lids are thinner, have a deeper recessed center, and are slightly more flexible (so they “pop” when they seal.)  The counterfeit regular mouth Ball canning lids are thicker and  less flexible metal, and have only a slight indentation in the center of the lid. According to people who reviewed these lids on Amazon said they could not get them to seal after the canning process.

 

  • Real regular mouth Ball canning lids have a thin outside lip. The counterfeit regular mouth Ball canning lids have a more tapered inside edge that is shaped so it will not create an air tight seal against the lip of a glass Ball canning jar.

 

  • Real regular mouth Ball canning lids have a narrower circle of brown sealing compound on them than the counterfeit Ball lids.

  

After searching high and low for legit canning jar lids and finding most places are sold out for the rest of the 2020 canning season, I’m giving up on canning until next season and use my freezer for what little food preservation I need to do right now.

Looking for more food preservation tools and ideas? Check out the following options – and more! – below!

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Comments

pilch92 said…
Thank you for this warning. I had the same problem buying lids this year so I went with Amazon. Mine are marked Ball, but came in a plastic bag instead of a box so now I am worried.
Michele Morin said…
This is frustrating and frightening! Thank you for the heads up!
Melissa said…
The Ball site now has a message that they are aware of counterfeit stuff and have their legal team on it. I feel bad for them. And as for Amazon, they have rules that legit sellers hate and then they allow these yahoos to rip people off. Grrr!
It is good of you to let people know what you have experienced.

Melissa | Little Frugal Homestead