Keep It Legal – Complying with 2006 Weights and Measures (Packaged Goods) Regulations
Any company that produces prepackaged goods or materials can choose to establish a system of average weight, which involves the use of suitable scale equipment, capable of weighing and / or recording measurements accurately in accordance with the most recent requirements.
Ways to package your products
There are basically two ways to weigh your prepackaged products (that is, those that are sold / sealed and have between 5 g and 25 g, or 5 ml and 25 liters, the same weight or volume as other products of the same type).
- Minimum system: You can package your products to contain at least the amount shown on the label. Each package may contain more than the label says, but not less.
- Medium system: You can pack your products with an average measurement printed on the label.
The “medium system” applies to most products that are prepackaged in predetermined quantities, by weight or volume. This includes a wide range of products, including most food and non-food products, i.e .: rice, pasta, tea, coffee, etc.
You should check every batch you produce to make sure a random sample is packed to meet the requirements.
These are known as the ‘three packers’ rules:
These confirm that:
The contents of the packages / lot must not be less, on average, than the weight printed on the label.
Only a small number can fall below a certain margin of error. This is called the ‘tolerable negative error’ (NER)
No package may weigh less than twice the TNE
Remember that if you are calculating the NET as a percentage of the total quantity, you should round the weight or volume to the nearest 0.10 gram or milliliter as a general rule of thumb.
Click here: https://www.gov.UK/weights-measures-and-packaging-the-law/packaged-goods for complete advice on current TNE limits.
What kind of scale equipment?
The equipment you use to weigh, measure or control the weight of your prepackaged products (to meet the requirements of the medium system) has to be suitable for your use / fit for your purpose.
While current legislation confirms that there are no specific rules about what equipment you should use to establish an average weight, it is important that they are adequate and capable of accurately handling and measuring the products you sell.
This equipment must have an advanced degree of sensitivity and precision, and be suitable for the environment or atmosphere in which it is stored and used.
Do not forget that when weighing products for trade or sale, the equipment must also have a trade seal or be approved as “legal for trade”. If you are unsure of the actual condition of the scale equipment, ask your equipment supplier for advice.
Scale equipment must comply with all current legislation that regulates a class or type of equipment, so look for the degree of approval on the product packaging.
What do you mean by package?
The most important aspect of taking average weight is understanding what constitutes a product or products. Measurements must include the entire packaging (this is part of the package) and are subject to the ‘average system’ if performed with a predetermined weight or volume, if the customer is not present.
It also refers to materials where the quantity cannot be changed without opening or changing the packaging.
Regardless of which system you decide to use when it comes to prepackaged products, it is important that you stay within the law.
Understanding what equipment is capable of taking and recording average weight readings in the environment you work in is very important – take advantage of the experience and knowledge of your equipment supplier. You may be surprised at their level of expertise.