Weights and Measures Regulations

My business sells products according to their weight. Is there any legislation that I need to be aware of?

Many businesses sell goods by weight and in some circumstances by another measure such as volume or length. Examples of businesses which sell products in this manner are greengrocers, butchers, pubs or bars and even shops which cater for the DIY market.

If your business sells products in this manner then you will be required to adhere to various rules and regulations which are present in order to help your customers understand how much they are in fact buying and to make sure that they receive the correct amount of a product that they have paid for.

If my business sells goods by weight or measure what must I be aware of?

If you business sells goods by weight or measure you must adhere to the following requirements:

  • You must sell your products in metric quantities
  • You must package the product to show the metric measure

Metric quantities

The following conditions must be adhered to when selling in metric quantities:

  • If you sell goods by weight then you must use kilograms and grams rather than pounds and ounces
  • If you sell goods by volume then you must use litres rather than pints or cubic metres rather than cubic feet
  • If you sell goods by length then you must use metres instead of feet and inches

Packaging of the product

You must ensure that the metric measure is shown on your packaging. You can also include the imperial measure however the more prominent measure on the packaging must be the metric measure.

Are there any exceptions to the metric measure rule?

There are two exceptions to the rule that goods must be sold in metric measures.  They are in relation to draft beer and milk which is able to be sold in pints when it is sold in returnable containers. For example a pint glass in a pub or a glass bottle of milk delivered by a milkman.

If beer and milk is sold in the shops in plastic containers (milk) and bottles or cans (beer) then the measure provided on the container will specify the metric amount.

Fixed Weight Packages

In relation to fixed weight packages the following rules must be adhered to:

  • The average contents of the packages should not be less than the nominal quantity
  • The proportion of packages that are short of the stated quantity by a defined amount which is called the tolerable negative error or TNE should be less that a specific level
  • No packages should be short more than double the tolerated negative error

Is there any legislation which applies directly to specific businesses?

If you run a business in one of the following sectors then there is specific legislation which will apply to your business:

  • Pubs, restaurants and cafes
  • Bakers
  • Butchers
  • Greengrocers

Pubs, restaurants and cafes

If you sell alcoholic drinks in your establishment then you must sell them in approved measures.

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For more information on:

  • Bakers
  • Butchers
  • What happens if I sell products that are not sold in packaging?
  • Do I have to let the customer know the weight of the product before they buy it?
  • Greengrocers