Business requirements under trade measurement laws

As a Queensland business it's important that you know your rights and obligations under trade measurement laws.

Businesses that sell goods by measurement, and those that manufacture, pack, import or sell pre-packaged goods, must comply with the following legislation:

Using measuring instruments in your business

Any measuring instruments (e.g. a scale) that are used to sell goods must be:

  • an approved type, suitable for their intended purpose
  • verified before use by a servicing licensee or inspector
  • used in the correct manner (e.g. level and calibrated to zero before use)
  • positioned so that the customer can easily see the measurement process, or you must provide a written statement of the measurement
  • kept clean and in good working order
  • verified after each repair or adjustment.

Servicing your measuring instruments

You should have your measuring instruments checked regularly by a servicing licensee to make sure they are working properly.

For a list of servicing licensees near you, phone the National Measurement Institute on 1300 686 664 (select 2) or email

Requirements for pre-packaged goods

If your business manufactures, packs, imports or sells pre-packaged goods, you must:

  • make sure packages are correctly labelled, including measurement statements and packer identification
  • make sure packages contain the amount stated on the label
  • have appropriate measuring instruments to perform compliance sampling.

Read more about the sale of pre-packaged goods.

Measuring pre-packaged goods

You have a duty to carry out sufficient checks to ensure that all batches of pre-packaged goods meet the legal requirements for correct measurement.

There are 2 approved methods that you can use to determine if your pre-packaged goods are measured correctly.

Average system

  • The average content in a sample of pre-packed articles of the same measurement cannot be less than the stated quantity marked on the packages.
  • No pre-packed article can have a shortfall greater than 5% of the stated quantity.
  • An inspector will generally check 12 articles, but can choose a number of packages greater than 12 for this sampling process, depending on the circumstances.
  • The allowable average deficiency in a sample of 12 or more articles is nil. However, a small number of 'desiccating' goods, which lose moisture after packing (e.g. mushrooms and soap), are allowed a greater maximum deficiency and an average deficiency after the day of packing.

For more information about desiccating goods and measurement-marking requirements, read the trade measurement legislation above.

Average quantity system (AQS)

  • The weighted average net content in a sample from the production run of pre-packed articles cannot be less than the stated quantity marked on the packages.
  • Allowance is made for a small number of pre-packages to exceed a 'tolerable deficiency'.
  • None of the pre-packages in the sample can have more than twice the prescribed tolerable deficiency.

Find out more about AQS.

National Measurement Institute (NMI)

NMI maintains measurement standards and provides the legal and technical framework for businesses in Australia. For example, they make sure that the pricing of traded goods from business-to-business and business-to-consumer is based on accurate measurement.

Find out more about the NMI.

Trade measurement inspectors

NMI employs trade measurement inspectors to educate, monitor and consult with businesses about their trade measurement obligations.

Inspectors can visit your place of business 'at any reasonable time of day' in response to a complaint or enquiry from a consumer, or as part of a trade measurement compliance inspection program.

The inspector does not have to give notice of entry, and you are obliged to assist inspectors with any enquiries.

Find out more about the role of the trade measurement inspector.

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