Press releases

Media statement: no change in metrication law

The Trading Standards Institute (TSI) has today clarified the current legal position relating to the sale of produce by metric measure.

Ron Gainsford, chief executive of TSI, said: 'There is a great deal of confusion around the recent statement from the European Commission in connection with the legal use of metric measures.

'The legal position has not changed - pre-packed goods and goods sold loose from bulk, such as fruit and vegetables, are still required to be sold in metric quantities and weighing scales must be calibrated in metric units of measurement. Suggestions that goods can now be sold in pounds and ounces are incorrect.

'The only change - which has come about as a result of the EU ruling - is that goods can continue to be labelled with both metric and imperial quantities and with dual price per weight indications, indefinitely. Prior to this recent ruling, dual marking was due to end in 2009.

'Of course a shopper can ask for a pound of apples or half a pound of mince meat, but the retailer must weigh in metric and sell the metric equivalent.

'Countable products, for example apples and pears, do not have to be sold by weight, but if a trader chooses to sell by weight it has to be a metric measure.

'So far as the pint is concerned, again there is no practical change. The UK had a time-limited exemption to use the pint for sales of beer, cider and milk but this exemption will now continue indefinitely.

'Retailers can, as always, seek guidance from their local authority trading standards service who are responsible for enforcing the law on weights and measures.

'Consumers can get advice from Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06.'

For more information contact TSI Press Office on 0845 608 9430

Notes to Editors

Trading Standards Institute

The Trading Standards Institute has represented the interests of Trading Standards professionals for 120 years. We have a long and proud history of ensuring that the views of our members are well represented at the highest level of government, both nationally and internationally.

Our aim is to promote excellence and enhance the professionalism of our members in support of empowering and informing consumers, encouraging and working with honest businesses, targeting rogue traders and rogue trading practices and contributing to the health, welfare and wellbeing of citizens and communities.

TSI members are engaged in delivering frontline Trading Standards Services in local authorities in response to 2 million consumer and business complaints and enquiries each year. They also support the delivery of new initiatives such as Consumer Direct, providing first point of contact practical consumer advice.

They also work in the business, consumer and central government sectors in promoting and influencing the safety, prosperity and enhancement of individuals and markets with a dependency on effective and professional trading standards contributions and interventions.

Consumer Direct - 08454 04 05 06

Consumer Direct is a Government-backed telephone and online consumer advice service which works in partnership with Local Authority Trading Standards. It provides clear, practical and impartial advice and information to help consumers resolve problems and disagreements with suppliers of goods and services. Consumer Direct is available from 0800-1830 Monday to Friday, and 0900-1300 Saturday, excluding bank and public holidays.

Calls cost a maximum of 4 pence per minute from a BT landline. Calls from mobiles or other networks may vary. Your service provider may charge a minimum cost per call. The advice and information given is free.