Weights and measures

Weights and measures rules for butchers


In general, meat and poultry must be sold by weight.

Most pre-packed items must be marked with their net weight - excluding packaging.

Items that aren't pre-packed can be sold by net weight or gross weight - including packaging. However, there are strict limits on what the packaging can weigh. If you want to sell by gross weight, ask your local Trading Standards office for advice.

You must let the customer know the weight before they pay. This is usually done by weighing the product in front of them. You must use scales that are approved for trade use and stamped to show they have been tested. Ask your equipment supplier for advice about this. Approved equipment should be marked 'CE' with a black 'M' on a green background and a four-digit number. A black 'M' with the year of approval on a white background is also permitted.

Make sure customers understand if the weight of the product will change. For example, if someone buys some meat but asks for it to be trimmed or boned, causing a weight reduction.

You must display the prices of your products. Pre-packed items must be marked with the price. It must also be easy for the customer to see the unit price - for example, price per kilogram. For items that are not pre-packed, you usually need to display the unit price.

Northern Ireland Trading Standards officers can advise you. They also make occasional checks to make sure you're following the rules. If you break the rules, you could face a large fine or even a prison sentence.