If you sell loose fruit and vegetables, you'll usually sell them by weight. You can choose to sell by:
- net weight - the weight without wrapping or containers
- gross weight - the weight including wrapping
There are limits on the weight of wrapping you can use. Ask the Northern Ireland Trading Standards Service for advice.
However, two groups of produce don't have to be sold by weight, unless you want to do so. They are:
- countable produce that can be sold by number, such as apples, bananas and onions
- some salad products that can be sold by the bunch, such as spring onions and carrots
Pre-packed fruit and vegetables must be sold by net weight - or by number if they're countable products. The pack must be clearly marked with the contents. Pre-packed goods usually have the weight or quantity (ie number) marked on the packet.
In the case of ‘countable’ produce you don’t have to mark the package with the number if the contents are clearly visible to a buyer and the number of products inside is eight or less.
You must let customers know the weight of produce before they buy. Usually, loose produce is weighed in front of the customer.
The weighing machine you use must be approved for trade use and stamped to show it's been tested. Ask your equipment supplier for advice on 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.
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.