Skip Ribbon Commands
Australian Government: National Measurement Institute - Trade MeasurementAustralian Government: National Measurement Institute - Trade Measurement
National Measurement Institute
      

Fruit and Vegetables

Download our Guide to the Sale of Fruit and Vegetables English  l  Arabic language symbol  l  French language symbol  l  Chinese language symbol  Chinese language symbol  l  Vietnamese language symbol

Most fruit and vegetables are sold by weight (e.g. 250 g strawberries or 1.5 kg onions).

In limited situations, some prepacked produce may be sold by number or bunch. This is allowed when the produce in question is ordinarily sold by number in the marketplace (e.g. 10 lemons, a bunch of celery, 12 mangoes).  

If fruit and vegetables are measured and sold by weight in front of customers, then the customer must have the opportunity to see the measuring process including the readings on the measuring instruments.  

Fruit and vegetables packed in advance of being offered for sale can be packed in bags, trays or any other kind of packaging.

If there are up to eight pieces of whole fruit or vegetables by count in a transparent package, the number does not need to be marked on the package. However other prepacked fruit and vegetables must be marked with the correct measurement – either net weight or number. It is not acceptable to mark the weight on a sign or blackboard rather than mark each pack.

The marked weight cannot include the weight of any packaging or wrapping.

The required size of the numbers and letters on the statement of net measurement depends on the size of the packaging is shown in the following table.

Maximum dimension of package​ Minimum character height of numbers/letters ​
120 mm or less​ 2.0 mm ​
121 to 230 mm​ 2.5 mm​
231 to 360 mm​ 3.3 mm​
over 360 mm​ 4.8 mm​

 

The statement of measurement must also be:

  • clear to read
  • 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 of product name
  • in a different colour from the background
  • in metric units

Note:  The correct abbreviation for kilogram is 'kg' and for gram is 'g'.

In addition to net weight, for fruit and vegetables packed in random weights, each pack must be marked with the price/kg and total price. However, the price/kg does not need to be marked if the same article is packed in constant sizes (e.g. if all packs of carrots are marked 600 g).

If cut fruit or vegetables are sealed with lightweight plastic film for hygienic reasons or to prevent them from drying out, they do not need to be marked with a weight. Although the weight of the plastic film may not register on the scale the weight of the film must be ‘tared off’. This means that the weight of the film (tare) is subtracted from the total weight of the package (gross) to give the weight of the produce only (net weight).

Prepackages must not contain less than the stated amount at all times prior to sale.

If the article is likely to lose weight over time through evaporation, dehydration or other means, the packer must make allowances for any expected losses in the measurement when packaging the product for the entirety of its shelf life.

Products packed at premises other than where they are sold must display the full name and street address of the packer, or the person for whom they were packed. The address given cannot be a post office box, an email address or phone number.

The name and address of the packer must be clear and legible.

Click here for more information on prepacked articles.

When selling potatoes or similar agricultural produce in sacks weighing more than 25 kg gross which have been grown and packed on the same property by the grower, the sacks do not need to be marked with either the weight or the packer’s name and address.

When using recycled cartons or boxes to pack fruit and vegetables, sellers must make sure that old labels are removed and the correct labels for quantity and the name and address of the packer are attached.

When selling by weight, sellers are responsible for the accuracy of their measuring instruments. The instruments must:

  • be of a type approved by NMI and legal for trade use
  • be verified as accurate by a servicing licensee before they are used
  • register zero before they are used
  • be properly installed and appropriate for the intended use
  • be used correctly by staff who have had adequate training in their correct use

NMI employs trade measurement inspectors throughout Australia. The role of inspectors is:

  • to ensure that all measuring instruments used for trade are verified and used correctly
  • to monitor the verification activities of servicing licensees
  • to check prepackages for correct packer identification, measurement markings and accurate measure
  • to investigate complaints and resolve problems with trade measurement matters
  • to issue infringement notices or take prosecution action where there have been breaches of the laws

Sellers should check the health and safety regulations in their state, territory or council area.

The main laws covering trade measurement are the National Measurement Act and the National Trade Measurement Regulations. For offences and penalties regarding the use of measuring instruments for trade and shortfall provisions, see the following sections of the Act: 

  • section 18HC – certain articles must be sold by measurement
  • section 18GA – measuring instruments used for trade to be verified
  • section 18GD – inaccurate use of measuring instruments
  • section 18KD – shortfall offence

For more information contact 1300 686 664, infotm@measurement.gov.au or use our on-line form.