How are Packaged Goods regulated?
The Weights and Measures (Packaged Goods) Regulations 2006 (SI 2006/659) set out a programme of quantity control for packaged goods. The Regulations require consumers to be informed on quantity and protect them against short measure, while allowing businesses flexibility to control quantity on the production line within specific tolerances.
Download a copy of the Regulations and Guidance Notes (PDF, 355 Kb) .
UK regulation is underpinned by European law including EC Directives 76/211/EEC and 2007/45/EC which govern quantity control, the use of the ‘℮’ mark and specified quantities.
Download a copy of 76/211/EEC and 2007/45/EC.
Please note that separate legislation exists for Northern Ireland.
What are Packaged Goods?
A ‘package’ is a combination of a product and the package it is placed in without the purchaser being present and whereby the quantity of the package cannot be altered without being opened or modified.
Packaged goods that fall within the scope of the Packaged Goods Regulations are those made up in a quantity between 5 g and 25 kg and 5 ml and 25 L. These include both foodstuffs and non-foodstuffs.
How do packers and importers comply with the law?
Legislation sets out information for packers and importers on what they need to do to comply with the law. There are three areas covered:
1. ‘Three Packers Rules’
These set out three rules that packers and importers must adhere to, and they provide protection for consumers on short measure
2. Equipment and Records
Equipment used to make up or check packaged goods must be suitable for purpose. Records of any checks undertaken must also be kept
Packers and importers must ensure that packaged goods are labelled with quantity. The information must be visible, easy to read and not be able to be damaged.
How can consumers be sure that the quantity of packaged goods complies with the law?
It is the duty of the packer to make sure the quantity of packaged goods complies with the Regulations. Enforcement of the law is carried out by Local Authority Trading Standards. Please see our Weights and Measures Enforcement section of our website for further information.
Understanding and use of the ‘℮’ mark.
The ‘℮’ mark is a metrological passport to trade allowing free access within the EEA and its respective markets.
Packaged goods labelled with the ‘℮’ mark are declaring their compliance with the requirements of the ‘average system’ under Directive 76/211/EEC and are not subject to further weights and measures regulation. It is optional choice for the packer to display the ‘℮’ mark.
Packages that meet the requirements of the Packaged Goods Regulations and are between 5g to 10 kg and 5 ml to 10 L can apply the ‘℮’ mark.
Packages which do not display the ‘℮’ mark and are to be traded outside the UK must meet the regulations set by the destination country.
Measuring Container Bottles
Measuring Container Bottles are containers (normally bottles) used for the storage, transportation and delivery of liquids and are designed to be stoppered. They are made of glass or materials having similar characteristics and metrological qualities as glass. MCB have a nominal quantity of between 0.05 L and 5 L. They are regulated though Directive 75/107/EEC and The Measuring Container Bottles (EEC requirements) Regulations 1997. Using a MCB is one way of complying with the Packaged Goods Regulations. Download a copy of the 75/107/EEC and the MCB Regulations.
MCB that display the EEC mark (‘Э’) must conform to the above regulations and can be traded freely between member states.
MCB are required to display a manufacturers mark, their nominal quantity and (if not filled to the brim) the distance between the fill level and the brim.
Registering a manufacturer’s mark for Measuring Container Bottles
Manufacturers have to submit an application for approval of any new marks they wish to use. Should you wish to register a mark please contact us here at the National Measurement Office (firstname.lastname@example.org) so that it can be registered in accordance with the legal requirements under UK and European law.
Download a copy of the current MCB register (PDF, 160 Kb) (2014)
Download a copy of the inactive MCB manufacturers marks (PDF, 101 Kb) (2014)