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Trade measurement laws regulate the retail and wholesale sale of fruit and vegetables.

Selling by weight

When you sell fruits and vegetables by weight you must ensure the measurement is accurate.

Using scales

If you use a scale to weigh and sell fruit and vegetables that aren’t pre-packaged, you must ensure that:

  • the National Measurement Institute (NMI) has approved your type of scales and any attached modules (i.e. point of sale system) 
  • a servicing licensee has verified your scales and any attached modules
  • you and your staff use them in the correct manner (e.g. level and indicating zero before use)
  • you position them so that the customer can easily see the weighing process (if not, you must provide a written statement of the weight)
  • you keep them clean and in good working order
  • a servicing licensee verifies them after each repair or adjustment

It is your responsibility to make sure your scale is correct at all times.

We recommend that you have all your scales checked regularly by a technician licensed by NMI (servicing licensee). For a list of servicing licensees, email tmlicensees@measurement.gov.au.

Pre-packaged fruit and vegetables

If you sell pre-packaged fruit and vegetables in bags, trays or any other form of packaging, you must make sure that you:

  • label each package with the weight of the fruit or vegetables
  • label each package with the name and address of the packer (unless you pack them on the same premises where you sell them) 
  • only display the net weight of the fruit or vegetables (do not include the weight of any packaging)
  • allow for any reduction in weight due to moisture-loss so the package displays an accurate weight at the time of sale

You should print weight statements either on labels attached to the package or directly on the package itself. When you pack and sell fruit and vegetables on the same premises, you can hand-write the statement.

The weight statement must be:  

  • clear to read, at least 2 mm from the edge of the principal display panel and at least 2 mm from other graphics
  • in the same direction as the brand or product name 
  • in a colour that provides a distinct contrast with the colour of the background

In addition, if the packages are not all the same weight, you must mark the total price and price per kilogram either:

  • on the package in the same format as the weight statement
  • immediately adjacent to the package in characters at least 10 mm high

Read the Guide to the sale of pre-packaged goods to find out more. 

You may sell some pre-packaged produce by number or bunch. If you sell fruit and vegetables by number, you must mark the packaging with the accurate count except when the package:

  • is transparent
  • contains less than 9 items

The specific fruits and vegetables that can be sold by number when pre-packaged are listed in the Approval for the sale of products by number or linear or area measurement.

Regulating the sale of fruit and vegetables

The National Measurement Act 1960 and the National Trade Measurement Regulations 2009 regulate how fruit and vegetables can be sold by measurement.

NMI employs trade measurement inspectors throughout Australia. We regularly inspect fruit and vegetables being sold to ensure that sellers are following the correct process.

If an inspector finds that you are short-measuring your customers, we can fine you up to $210,000 per offence.

If you have concerns about how fruit and vegetables are being sold, contact the NMI hotline on 1300 686 664 or email infotm@measurement.gov.au.

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Last updated: 24 June 2019

Content ID: 52553