Correct Weighing and Packaging of Fresh Produce

Regulations control the correct weighing and packaging of produce for sale..

Most fruit and vegetables are sold by weight - for example 250g raspberries or kg of potatoes. The Australian Government through the National Measurement Institute (NMI) controls the correct weighing of produce.

Some pre-packed produce can also be sold legitimately by number or bunch - for example a bunch of celery, 12 mangoes or 10 lemons. The NMI specifies how these pre-packs must be labelled.

 

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Selling Produce by Weight

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If you are selling fruit and vegetables by weight, you are responsible by law for the accuracy of your measuring instruments - scales etc.

  • The measuring instruments must be of a type approved by the NMI and legal for commercial use. They must be marked with an NMI approval number or National Standards Commission approval number.
  • They must be verified as accurate by a licensed service agent before they are used.
  • And they must register zero before they are used.
  • The measuring instruments must be properly installed and appropriate for the intended use.
  • They must be used correctly by staff who have had adequate training in their correct use.
  • If the fruit and vegetables which you are selling by weight are measured in front of customers, then the customer must have the opportunity to see the measuring process including the readings on your scales

The NMI employs inspectors throughout Australia to:

  • Ensure all weighing instruments used for trade are verified and used correctly
  • Check pre-packed produce for correct packer identification, measurement markings and accurate measure
  • Issue infringement notices and take prosecution action where there have been breaches of the law.

The legislation ensures that everyone benefits when correct weight is applied to the sale of fresh fruit and vegetables:

  • The consumers benefit by receiving the produce they pay for.
  • The retailer benefits by reducing potential over-supply
  • The economy benefits from consumer confidence through a consistent and reliable system.

Selling Pre-Packed Produce

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Pre-Packed produce refers to items packed in advance of being offered for sale. That is, not those items packed at the time of the sale.

  • If you are selling only up to eight pieces of whole fruit or vegetables by number in a transparent package you do not need to mark the number on the package.
  • Other pre-packed fruit and vegetables must be marked with the correct measurement - either net weight or number.
  • It is NOT acceptable to mark the weight of pre-packed produce on a sign or blackboard - it must be marked on each pack.
  • The marked weight cannot include the weight of any packaging or wrapping.
  • The size of the numbers and letters on the pack is controlled by the legislation and depends on the size of the packaging:
        

    Maximum Dimension of the Package

    Minimum Height of Numbers and letters

     120mm or less

     2.0mm

     121 to 230mm

     2.5mm

     231 to 360mm

     3.3mm

    Over 360mm

    4.8mm

 

  • The statement of weight must be clear to read, at least 2mm from the edge of the principal label and at least 2mm from other graphics on the label.
  • The statement of weight must be in the same direction as the brand or product name on the label and it must be in a different colour from the background.
  • The statement of weight must be in metric units. The correct abbreviation for kilograms is 'kg' and for gram, 'g'
  • If your fruit and vegetables are packed in random weights, you must mark the pack with the net weight and the price per kg as well as the total price. However, you do not have to mark the price/kg if you pack the same item in constant sizes - for example, if all packs of carrots are marked 600g.
  • Pre-packs must not contain less than the stated weight at all times prior to the sale. If the item is likely to lose weight over time through evaporation, dehydration or other means, the packer must make allowances for any expected losses in the weight when packing the product for the entirety of its shelf life. Products packed at premises other than where they are sold must display the full name and street address of ther packer' or the person for whom they were packed. The address given cannot be a post office box, en email address or a phone number. The name of the packer must be clear and legible.
  • There are exemptions from the labelling of packaged produce referred to above. One example is if you are selling potatoes or similar produce which has been grown and packed on the same property by the grower and is being sold in sacks more than 25kg gross, the individual sacks do not need to be marked with either the weight

 

Please Note

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The information contained on this page is provided for the general interest of our customers. It is not intended to be definitive when it comes to the interpretation of the current legislation. Customers should refer to the appropriate legislation for specific requirements that may affect their business.

It is beyond the scope of this web site to enter into discussions on the legislation affecting produce retailer.