Average quantity system requirements

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AQS e-mark

AQS and the average system operate concurrently and inspectors need to be able to identify which measurement system has been used.

If you choose to adopt AQS in your business, pre-packaged goods must be marked with the AQS e-mark. The shape, size and location of the e-mark must be:

  • at least 3 mm high
  • close in position to the stated quantity
  • on the principal display panel

Australian manufactured pre-packed articles without an e-mark will be assessed for compliance with the average system and tested by trade measurement inspectors accordingly. 

Packers must be aware that it is an offence to mark a package with a mark that is not an AQS e-mark but which is likely to give the impression of being one.

In the case of imported products with an e-mark, the inspector would not normally have access to the production records from the overseas manufacturer and may require the products to be tested at the warehouse.

Download AQS e-marks

Download these zip files for EPS and PDF versions:


‘Shortfall’ is a term used throughout the packaging sections of the national trade measurement legislation. It means the extent to which production or output falls short of expectation.

Where a package is tested in accordance with the national single article test procedure, a shortfall occurs where the measured quantity of a package’s contents falls short of the declared quantity marked on the package.

In other cases, the term refers to the failure of a group of packages of the same kind, when tested according to AQS or average system rules. While a large proportion of the packages in a group may be compliant, if a shortfall has occurred then the whole group of packages cannot be sold and the packer must take remedial action.

AQS threshold

The AQS threshold is the inspection lot size from which the sample number of packages is selected. The sample will be inspected to decide if the lot conforms to AQS requirements. These are the requirements stipulated for an inspector to assess for compliance with regulation, as distinct from a testing program adopted by industry. These thresholds are given in Table 1.

Table 1. Inspection lots and sampling requirements

Inspection lot thresholds (number of packages) Sample size requirements number of packages) Number of packages in sample allowed to exceed tolerable deficiency 
100 to 500 50 3
501 to 3200 80 5
3201 or more 125 7

AQS sampling procedures

An inspector will select a sample from a lot of packages at random in accordance with accepted statistical sampling practice. If the sample selected from a lot of packages produced on a production line:

  • is collected from the production line, the size of the batch from which the sample is collected must be equal to the maximum hourly output of the production line
  • is not collected from the production line, where there is a maximum hourly output of:
    • >10 000 packages, the size of the batch from which the sample is collected must be equal to the maximum hourly output of the production line
    • ≤10 000 packages, the size of the batch from which the sample is collected must not be more than 10 000 packages

AQS test procedures

Testing for compliance with AQS involves testing against the following three rules:

  • Rule 1 — the average contents of the packages in the sample must not be less than the declared quantity marked on the packages.
  • Rule 2 — the number of ‘inadequate’ packages (that is, packages with a deficiency greater than the tolerable deficiency listed in Table 2) in the sample does not exceed the number listed in the third column 3 of Table 1.
  • Rule 3 — there must be no inadequate packages with a deficiency more than twice the tolerable deficiency.

Table 2. Tolerable deficiencies in actual content of pre-packages

(from regulation 4.36 of the National Trade Measurement Regulations 2009)

  Nominal quantity of product (Qn) Tolerable deficiency (T) as a percentage of Qn Tolerable deficiency (T) in g or mL*
Weight or volume 0 to 50 (g or mL) 9
50 to 100 (g or mL) 4.5
100 to 200 (g or mL) 4.5
200 to 300 (g or mL) 9
300 to 500 (g or mL) 3
500 to 1000 (g or mL) 15
1000 to 10,000 (g or mL) 1.5
10,000 to 15,000 (g or mL) 150
15,000 to 50,000 (g or Ml) 1
Length Qn ≤ 5 m No tolerable deficiency allowed  
Qn > 5 m 2  
Area All Qn 3  
Count Qn ≤ 50 items No tolerable deficiency allowed  
Qn > 50 items 1#  

* T values are rounded up to the next: tenth of a g or mL for Qn ≤ 1 000 g or mL and whole g or mL for Qn > 1 000 g or mL.

# Compute the value of T by multiplying the nominal quantity by 1% and rounding the result up to the next whole number. The value may be larger than 1% due to the rounding but this is acceptable because whole items cannot be divided.