Stevens Traceability Systems Ltd (United Kingdom) - This article explains what average weight legislation is and its importance in the food industry. We also delve into more detail about how this legal requirement impacts the seafood industry, specifically companies that sell fish products in volume, and what businesses in this sector can do to comply.
First things first…
What is average weight legislation in the food industry?
When food manufacturers produce and sell packaged food products by weight or volume, it is a legislative requirement to adhere to the Weights and Measures Act. This means the food products must be packaged using a particular system, either the minimum or the average system.
You can find out more about these systems in our article called Average Weight Requirements Explained which also explains what the Three Packers Rules are, it gives sample examples, and details what records you must keep.
More specifically, in the Seafood Sector…
Why seafood processors must adhere to the legislation:
- Like other food businesses, the principles of Average Weight legislation apply to fish and seafood processors who sell products by weight, typically by kilogram.
- According to law, customers must be made aware of the weight before paying for the goods, whether that is fresh, frozen, cooked, or processed.
- Product weight should be declared and visible on the product label/packaging.
How seafood processors can meet these requirements:
When preparing fish to sell it must be weighed on a trade-approved scale (also known as stamped or government-stamped scale). This ensures that the fish processor is using a scale that is accurate and of approved construction, ensuring quality and transparency for customers.
Trade-approved scales & average weight scales:
A range of trade-approved scales is available on the market, which varies by brand, capacity, and functionality.
Additionally, there are average weight systems that comprise a trade-approved scale and software which allows you to manage your sampling, record data, and produce reports. Average weight systems are beneficial for businesses that prepare large volumes of pre-packed products because they allow for small variations in the individual package weights, giving an overall average weight.
To get detailed information about the Weights and Measures Act for fishmongers or seafood processors, we recommend that you speak to your local trading standards office who can advise and make sure you follow the correct protocols.