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Supermarkets on notice to comply with trade measurement laws

The National Measurement Institute (NMI), Australia’s authority on measurement, today announced a two week ‘blitz’ in the lead up to Christmas on compliance with trade measurement regulations in Australia’s major supermarkets.

Article date:
12/11/2018 11:00 AM

The National Measurement Institute (NMI), Australia’s authority on measurement, today announced a two week ‘blitz’ in the lead up to Christmas on compliance with trade measurement regulations in Australia’s major supermarkets.

As the national regulator of trade measurement, NMI has released its 2018-19 National Compliance Plan, outlining a program of compliance activities across the economy covering both wholesale and retail sales.

General Manager for Legal Metrology at NMI, Bill Loizides, said “Australia’s trade measurement laws ensure consumers can make informed purchasing decisions and that they get what they pay for when they buy products by weight, volume or number. Australia’s major supermarket chains have assured us that they have robust quality assurance programs in place to comply with these laws.”

“We have put the major supermarkets on notice that the concentrated national audit program will be taking place and that they can expect a vigorous approach to enforcement action should serious or persistent non-compliance be found during our trade measurement inspections.”

“While we recognise that most businesses want to do the right thing, there are penalties for businesses that breach the law. NMI can issue infringement notices with fines of $1,050 per offence. If the matter is serious enough for a prosecution, the maximum fines are $210,000 per offence as a company or $42,000 per offence as an individual.”

NMI’s major supermarket audit will run from 12 to 23 November 2018 and include:

  • auditing 1000 individual business premises
  • inspecting 2000 measuring instruments, usually scales, for compliance with regulations
  • checking 25,000 pre-packed article lines for correct weight/volume and measurement labelling
  • conducting 500 ‘secret shopper’ trial purchases to ensure proper business practices, such as accounting for the weight of packaging, are being followed in over-the-counter transactions.

“Consumers need to be confident that packaged goods contain the amount stated on the label. Any business that uses a measuring instrument such as a scale to determine a price must ensure that instrument is an approved type and accurate at all times,” Mr Loizides said.

Mr Loizides said that consumers or businesses that wanted more information or to report a suspected breach of the rules should contact the national trade measurement hotline on 1300 686 664 or infotm@measurement.gov.au.

Media contact

Department of Industry, Innovation and Science: 02 6213 6308, media@industry.gov.au
National Measurement Institute: 0416 128 224