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IMPROVE CONSUMER PROTECTION WITH MASS INDICATIONS

Pre-packed products require an indication of mass or volume

Most of the food bought in the supermarket is sold in packages. To protect the interest of the consumers these prepackage need to express the quantity, volume and/or mass of the product that is sold. In general, the volume needs to be indicated for liquid products and for all other products there needs to be an indication of the product ́s mass number. For example, on pre-packed meat, the number of grams is indicated and milk has an indication in litres. This way the consumer knows how much he is buying for a certain price. These expressions are mandatory according to Directive 76/211/EEC on pre-packed products. Detailed guidance on these requirements for pre-packages is given in other documents such as OIML Recommendations79and 87.

Expressions of mass on pre-packaging are better than volume

Where liquids require an indication of the volume when sold in prepackages, this is not the optimal indicator. For consumer protection reasons an expression of the mass is better.
First of all, measurement instrumentation used for mass is under legal control such as mandatory periodic re-verification whilst the instrumentation used for length, volume and number is not. This legal control provides more guarantees with the measuring instrument functions correctly.
Moreover, selling on mass is to be preferred as each molecule has its own mass. This avoids misunderstandings caused by aeration of the product, influences of temperature changes and, where partially gasses are involved, pressure. Apart from that, when the contents are declared in units of volume, a reference temperature of 20° C is obligatory. In a way, a volume reference is misleading for liquids usually served cold, such as dairy products, beers and sodas.
Additionally, weighing equipment is more accurate than measuring equipment for volume.
For the reasons above CECIP believes that expressions of mass on pre-packaging are better than expressions of volume.

Mass indications on all pre-packed products improves consumer protection

CECIP is convinced that to provide the most reliable, accurate and realistic indication of the product an expression of mass should be included on the prepackaged. By doing this the consumer is better informed about the product he or she is buying. However, this doesn’t mean the volume indication needs to be removed as that it is still possible to express the volume next to the mass.
To improve consumer protection, changes to Directive 76/211/EEC, OIML Recommendation 79 and WELMEC guides are necessary. Therefore, CECIP calls on all relevant stakeholders such as the European Commission and national authorities to improve the consumer protection and request expression of mass on all prepackages.

 

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    About the author

    CECIP

    CECIP is the European association for national trade organisations representing the European manufacturers of weighing instruments.
    Founded in 1958, CECIP has today 14 members. These include 11 national member associations from: Austria, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland and United Kingdom and three company members from Portugal, Sweden and Turkey.

    The weighing industry has gone through tremendous changes in the past decades with new technologies and techniques being introduced in all sectors. Nowadays weighing instruments plays an important role in every industry, contributing to the quality of the final product.

    Today, CECIP is playing its role within Europe, striving for common and harmonised standards to be adopted at European and International levels. These standards and legislation should provide safety and quality to both consumers and users of weighing instruments. CECIP aims to provide valuable contributions to improve the quality of legislation and standards.