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SELLING MEAT, FISH AND POULTRY

This leaflet has been prepared for the guidance of traders by the Northern Counties Chief Trading Standards Officers Group. It is not an authoritative document on the law and is intended for guidance only.

1. WEIGHTS AND MEASURE ACT REQUIREMENTS

 

What is ‘Meat’?

The law covers meat of any sort, whether fresh, chilled, frozen, salted, cooked or processed. ‘Meat’ includes any part of cattle, sheep or swine. Items which, although they contain other food, consist substantially of meat, are also included.

 

Some items are excluded

These include dripping, lard, pastes, shredded suet, pies, puddings, sausage rolls and items weighing less than 5 grammes.

The following items do not have to be sold by weight, but they do have to be marked with the ‘net weight’ if they are pre-packed.

a) single cooked sausages in natural casings less than 500g in weight; and

b) sausage meat products other than in sausage form when offered or exposed for sale as a single item in a quantity of less than 500g.

 

What is ‘Fish’ and ‘Poultry’?

The law covers fish or poultry of any sort, whether it is fresh, chilled, frozen, salted, cooked or processed. ‘Poultry’ includes any part of poultry, such as ‘wings’ or ‘legs’.

Items which, although they contain other food, consist substantially of fish or poultry, are also included.

 

Some items are excluded

Any items weighing less than 5 grammes are exempted.

The following items do not have to be sold by weight, but they do have to be marked with the ‘net weight’ if they are ‘pre-packed’.

a) cooked poultry;

b) shellfish in shell, jellied fish, pickled fish and fried fish;

c) any sale of fish made otherwise than from a market, shop, stall or vehicle.

 

How can Meat, Fish or Poultry be sold?

If the items are ‘pre-packed’ (that is, if they have been packed prior to retail sale in or on a container) then they must be marked with a statement of the ‘net weight’. ‘Net weight’ means the weight of the goods alone, without the wrapper or container.

If the items are not ‘pre-packed’ then they can be sold by either ‘net weight’ or ‘gross weight’. ‘Gross weight’ means the weight of any wrapper or container. However, there are strict controls on the weight of wrappers and if you wish to sell by gross weight you should ask for further advice. It is probably better from a retailer’s point of view to sell by ‘net weight’. The use of thin film or paper to protect the goods when placed on the scale is not, however, likely to cause any difficulties for you.

 

What is a ‘Sale by Weight’?

The law requires that the customer knows the weight before paying for or receiving the goods. This can best be done by weighing in front of the customer (not out of sight), or by marking the weight on the wrapper or on a separate ticket.

Where the wrapper weight exceeds the permitted limits, you must ensure that the ‘net weight’ of the goods is made known to the customer.

If your customer does not take the goods ‘there and then’ you must give the customer a written statement of the weight of the goods, either before or at the time of delivery to him or her.

You cannot sell by price only!

 

Can I sell in imperial or metric units?

From 1 October 1995, pre-packed meat, fish or poultry must be marked in metric but you may also display an imperial equivalent (supplementary indication) as long as the metric indication is more prominent.

Meat, fish and poultry sold loose from bulk can be sold in metric units but may continue to be sold in imperial units up to 1 January 2000.

 

2. PRICE MARKING REQUIREMENTS

The Price Marking Order 1991 requires all goods offered for retail sale to be marked either with a selling price or a unit price. In addition, it requires most pre-packed meat and poultry to be marked with both a selling price and a unit price.

The term unit price means the price of the food expressed by reference to the quantity and when quoted on pre-packs must be calculated by reference to the weight and selling price.

 

What price must be indicated?

Meat and poultry must be marked with a unit price and sometimes a selling price, depending on whether it is sold loose or pre-packed.

Meat and poultry sold loose (ie, not pre-packed) must be marked with the unit price (either price per lb or price per kg).

In general, meat, fish and poultry sold pre-packed must be marked with:-

i) price/kg;

ii) net weight;

iii) selling price.

 

Are there any exemptions?

Poultry sold pre-packed in pre-established quantities need only be marked with:-

i) net weight;

ii) selling price.

Pre-packed in pre-established quantities means goods packed such that the quantity of the goods in the pack correspond to a previously selected quantity.

The same is true of the following products when sold pre-packed in pre-established quantities.

a) processed meat (this does not include meat that is minced or cut, etc);

b) beefburgers, hamburgers, etc;

c) heads, feet and trotters;

d) bones, waste and scrap; or

e) a single piece of meat weighing less than 25g or costing less than 30p.

Also exempt from unit pricing is a portion of meat or poultry cut at the request and in the presence of the purchaser and meat and poultry sold at a reduced price on account of the danger of deterioration.

All the above are still required to have the weight and selling price marked on them.

 

How must the selling price be indicated?

The selling price and unit price can be marked either:-

a) on the goods; or

b) if pre-packed, on the container; or

c) on a ticker or notice in close proximity to the goods; or

d) grouped together in a list.

At all times they must be clear and identifiable by a prospective purchaser.

Pre-packed meat and poultry that is required to be unit priced must display it as a price per kilogram (for processed meats such as bacon, pt, etc, a price per 100 grams is an alternative). Non pre-packed meat may be unit priced by reference to the pound or the kilogram until 1 January 2000. From this date, sales by the pound will no longer be permissible and, therefore, unit prices by reference to the kilogram will be mandatory.

If you choose to sell in metric units before 1 January 2000, you must also display the equivalent imperial unit price until that date. This can be done by displaying an exact equivalent, for example, ‘3.31/kg (1.50/lb)’, or by displaying a suitable conversion chart.

The products listed above do not require any unit price, although customers must be told (or be able to work out) their selling price.

 

October 2000


North Yorkshire County Council

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