Report finds many food retailers not complying with weights and measures laws

The National Measurement Institute’s (NMI) report on retailer compliance in 2020-21 reveals that 88% of fruit and vegetable retailers, 42% of meat, fish and poultry retailers, and 25% of supermarkets were not complying with their legal requirements when audited during a concentrated period during the year.

Much of this post is taken from a media release by Queensland Consumers’ Association, originally published on 25th October, 2021.

The legal requirements include: the accuracy and use of measurement instruments; and the amount in, and display of quantity information on, packaged products.

The Queensland Consumers Association (QCA) is concerned that so many supermarkets and specialist retailers of fruit and vegetables, meat, fish and poultry are not complying with weights and measures laws.

QCA’s spokesperson, Ian Jarratt, says these high levels of non-compliance are very concerning because, as also stated in the report, even minor errors can have a significant impact on competition and on overall consumer detriment.

QCA says it is essential that NMI continue to undertake audits of retailer compliance and to take actions that will reduce non-compliance levels.

QCA says that non, or inadequate, display of quantity information for pre-packaged products, plus the use of inconsistent units of measure (for example per each and per kg, or per kg and per 100g) for the pricing of products loose from bulk (such as fruit and vegetables, nuts, and deli items), also makes it very difficult for consumers to easily compare values and prices.

Consumers concerned about any weights and measures issues encountered when shopping should contact NMI by phoning 1300 686 664 or sending an email to

QCA and other consumer groups also want the current weights and measures requirements for retailers to be made more consumer-friendly, not less – as proposed in an option for change being considered by the federal government. For example, one proposal is that the quantity information should not have to be shown on the front of prepackaged products.

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