Food labelling e-learning course
Net quantity

Net quantity

Weight indication on a pack showing: NET WT.  730g

One of the mandatory particulars required for prepacked foods under the FIC is an indication of net quantity, to be given in metric units. Units of volume should be used for liquids and of mass for other products. There are exemptions, and specific EU weights and measures provisions continue to apply unprejudiced by the FIC.

Units

The units to be used are litres, centilitres, millilitres, kilograms or grams as appropriate.

Prepackages containing further individual packages

Where a prepacked food contains a number of identical, individually prepacked inner items, the quantity indication should comprise the quantity of an inner item and their number. If both of these can be clearly seen from the outside anyway, this fulfils the requirement.

Where the individual prepacked inner items are not regarded as units of sale (e.g. a cake kit comprising a mix and separate icing) the net quantity indication should give the total quantity and total number of inner packages.

Food in a liquid or with a glaze

Solid food, presented in a liquid medium which is not essential to the nature of the food and therefore not a decisive factor for purchase, should be marked with a drained weight as well as a total net quantity. Such liquid media may be frozen and include fruit or vegetable juices in the case of fruit or vegetables, water and aqueous solutions, but not oils. The declared weight of glazed foods, e.g. prawns, should be exclusive of the glaze.

Exemptions

The net quantity declaration is not mandatory for prepacked foods:

  • which are subject to considerable losses in their volume or mass and are sold by number or weighed in the presence of the purchaser
  • the net quantity of which is less than 5g or 5ml (unless herbs or spices)
  • normally sold by number, with the number declared unless counting is clearly possible from the outside

On the basis of the third bullet point, there are several types of prepacked foods which can be sold either by number or weight in the UK. These include cereal biscuit breakfast foods, flour confectionery, eggs, rolls and small loaves weighing less than 300g, meat or fish pies, puddings and flans, sausage rolls, sandwiches and a range of 'countable' fruits and vegetables.

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