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There are a number of detailed requirements for labelling in the national trade measurement laws to make sure that the buyer is properly informed.

Position of the measurement marking

The marking that states the measurement of the package (weight, volume, length, area or number) must be on the main display part of the package. It must also be shown on at least one of the other parts of the package if it is likely to be displayed to the buyer. There is an exception from this requirement for bottles or casks of wine.

When the package is substantially cylindrical, spherical, oval or conical, the measurement marking must be wholly contained within a 60 degree arc either side of the line drawn vertically through the centre of the main display panel.

A cylindrical container with a label correctly positioned within a 60 degree arc either side of the line drawn vertically through the centre of the main display panel

Size of the measurement marking

The minimum character size of the measurement marking on a package depends on the maximum dimension of the package (see Table 1):

  • for rectangular packages the maximum dimension is the greater of the height, length or breadth of the package;
  • for cylindrical, oval etc. packages the maximum dimension is the greater of the height, length or diameter of the package

If the measurement marking is stamped or embossed instead of printed, the character size must be at least three times the minimum printed character size in Table 1. If you use an NMI-approved printing device for the measurement marking, the characters must be at least 3 mm high.

Table 1. The Minimum Character Size of Measurement Markings

Maximum dimension of packageMinimum character height of printed numbers/letters​
120 mm or less2 mm
Over 120 mm but not over 230 mm2.5 mm
Over 230 mm but not over 360 mm  3.3 mm
over 360 mm4.8 mm

Units of measurement and their symbols 

The table below shows the units of measurement and the symbols allowed on measurement markings.

The degree of accuracy of a measurement marking, should not exceed three significant figures (unless the measurement marking is made by a printing device with NMI approval which allows for greater precision), e.g. 7.632 is not allowed; the correct measurement marking is 7.63.

Fractions of units must be shown as decimals and the decimal must be preceded by zero, or another numeral, e.g. ¼ kg must be shown as either 0.25 kg or 250 g.

Weight

Measurement units allowedAbbreviations allowedAbbreviations NOT allowed
kilogramkgKG, Kg, kilos
gram g (for any mass exceeding 1 000 g, use kg)G, gm, grammes, grm
milligrammgMG, Mg, Mgram

Volume of liquids

Measurement units allowedAbbreviations allowedAbbreviations NOT allowed
litreL (lower case l is permitted but is better to avoid) None identified
decilitredL or dlDl
centilitrecL or clCl
millilitremL (for any volume exceeding 1 000 mL use cL, dL or L)Ml

Volume of Solids

Measurement units allowedAbbreviations allowed
cubic metre
cubic centimetrecm³ (for any solid exceeding 1 000 cm³ use m³)

Linear

Measurement units allowedAbbreviations allowed
metrem
centimetrecm (if length does not exceed 100 cm)
millimetremm (if length does not exceed 1 000 mm)

For linear measurements, millimetre is also allowable:

  • for paper lengths up to 10 000 mm, building material in sheet form and coated abrasive belts
  • to express the linear measurement of an article if its use was customary before introduction of the National Trade Measurement Regulations 2009.

Common measurement marking mistakes

Incorrect

The product name is overlapping the measurement marking.

Container with the measurement mark is overlapped by the product name.

Correct

The measurement marking is clear to read, 2 mm from the edge of the package, with a clearance of 2 mm in all directions from other graphic material or text.

Container with the measurement mark that is not overlapping the product name.

Incorrect

The measurement marking should be printed in the same direction as the brand name.

Container with the measurement mark printed perpendicular to the product name.

Correct

The measurement marking is clear to read and in the same direction as the brand name.
 

Container with the measurement mark printed in the same direction as the product name.

Incorrect

An additional strip (such as promotional competition items) should not hide the measurement marking.

Box with a measurement mark partially hidden by promotional strip wrapped around the box.

Correct

The measurement marking and product name needs to be clear to read when any additional strip is added to the package.

Box with a measurement mark not hidden by a promotional strip around the box.

Name and address of packer

For goods packed in Australia, the name and address of the packer (or the person on whose behalf it was packed) must be clearly marked on the package. The address must be a street address within Australia. Post office boxes, email and website addresses are not permitted as substitutes for street addresses.

Trade measurement laws do not prescribe the size or location of the name and address of the packer, but the details must be clear and legible.

For imported food (which includes beverages and ingredients) the Australia New Zealand Food Standards Code (the Code) requires that the name and business address in Australia of the importer or seller must be clearly marked on the package. The Code is a collection of Australian and New Zealand food standards with the force of law.