Packing goods by weight or volume - 'Average Quantity'
There are two ways of packing goods by weight or volume. These are called minimum weight and the average system.
This way of weighing or measuring goods can be used to sell loose or pre-packed goods.
Goods that are sold or offered for supply by quantity must be at least the weight, measure or number as stated by the seller.
Any equipment used to weigh or measure the goods must comply with laws covering the construction, use and accuracy.
The law does not say that the seller must use equipment to find out the weight of the goods he/she sells, but if seller gets the weight wrong they will have no defence against a charge of short weight or measure.
The average system
The average system applies to most goods which are -
- in pre-determined quantities by weight or volume
- of not less than 5 grams or 5 millilitres
- not more than 25 kilograms or 25 litres
The average system rules cover both automatic filling of packages and packers who do not use automatic equipment.
The average system includes tolerances for variation in the content. This includes allowing a proportion of packages to fall below their stated quantity within a specified tolerance.
The tolerances ensure that purchasers face a significantly reduced risk of short weight or measure and your business is protected against unfair competition.
The three packers’ rules
By law, a packer or importer of packages must ensure that they meet the following three rules -
- the contents of the packages must not be less on average than declared weight on the package (known as the nominal quantity (Qn))
- where packages contain less than the nominal quantity, only a specified proportion may be outside the legal limit for the pack size (known as the tolerable negative error (TNE) or T1 tolerance)
- no package shall have a negative error greater than twice the TNE (known as the T2 tolerance)
Packers’ duties - equipment, checks and documentation
By law, packers must either -
- measure the product contained in each package using suitable equipment to ensure that the packages are packed in accordance with the packers rules, or
- carry out checks on the product contained in the packages using a system of -
- sampling and tests which are sufficiently rigorous to ensure that the packages are packed in accordance with the packers rules
- use suitable equipment
- make a record of the checks
- make a record of the corrections and adjustments which the checks have shown to be necessary
The records must be kept by the packer until the date, as marked on the package, which indicates by when the product ought to be consumed, or one year after the packages have left the possession of the packer or importer (as appropriate), whichever occurs first.