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Labeling of Consumer Packages
Requirements
What is required on a consumer package?
1) Declaration of identity. What is in the package.
2) Declaration of responsibility. Who is responsible for the package. This includes
  • Name
  • Street address, the street address is not required if it can be found in the phone book
  • City
  • State
  • Zip code.
3) Declaration of quantity. How much is in the package.

What else is required on random weight packages?
Random weight packages also must have declarations of
  • net weight
  • unit price
  • total selling price.

What is the difference between a standard weight package and a random weight package?
A standard weight package is one of a lot, shipment, or delivery of packages of the same commodity with identical net quantity statements. A random weight package does not have any fixed pattern of net quantity.

Quantity
What is net quantity?
It is the quantity of commodity in the package, exclusive of wrappers and any other packing materials.

What terms shall net quantity be expressed in?
The declaration of quantity shall be expressed in terms of
  • weight if the commodity is solid, semisolid, viscous, or mixture of solid and liquid.
  • liquid measure if the commodity is liquid.
  • dry measure if the commodity is dry.
  • numerical count.

If there is a firmly established general consumer usage and trade custom with respect to the terms used in expressing a declaration of quantity of a particular commodity, such declaration may be expressed in its traditional terms, provided it gives accurate and adequate information of quantity. Any net content statement that does not permit price and quantity comparisons is forbidden.

What are the requirements for quantity declarations?
International System of Units (SI), also known as the metric system and the inch-pound system are both recognized as proper systems for use in net quantity. Effective February 14, 1994, consumer packages are required to declare the quantity in terms of both SI units and inch-pound units.

Are there any exceptions to declaring both SI units and inch-pound units?
Yes. Consumer commodities exempt from declaring quantity in SI units include
  • Foods packaged at the retail store level
  • Random weight packages
  • Package labels printed prior to 2/14/94
  • Meat and poultry subject to Federal Meat or Poultry Products Inspection Acts
  • Tobacco and tobacco products
  • Beverages subject to Federal Alcohol Administration Act
  • Products subject to Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Acts
  • Drugs and cosmetics subject to Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act
  • Nutrition labeling information.

Consumer commodities that bear appropriate SI units are exempt from declaring quantity in inch-pound units. However, this does not apply to foods, drugs, or cosmetics or to other items subject to regulation by the Federal Trade Commission, meat and poultry products subject to Federal Meat or Poultry Products Inspection Acts, and tobacco or tobacco products.

Do I need to use the term "net weight" or "net mass" with my quantity declaration?
No, it is not necessary. Quantity declarations may stand alone or may include the terms "net weight" or "net mass."

Can I use qualifying terms with my quantity declaration?
No. Qualifying terms are prohibited. They include terms such as "when packed," "minimum," "not less than," or any words of similar import (e.g., "approximately"). Units of weight, measure, or count cannot be qualified by any term that tends to exaggerate the amount of commodity, for example, "jumbo," "giant" and "full."

Do quantity declarations need to be in terms of largest whole unit?
Yes. Quantity declarations must be in terms of the largest whole unit of weight or measurement. For example, if you have a package containing 2 pounds of product, the declaration is 2 pounds and not 32 ounces. The largest whole unit of pounds is used.

SI units and inch-pound units
What are the SI units and inch-pound units?
SI UNITS
INCH-POUND UNITS
Mass
Kilogram, gram, or milligram
Pound or ounce
Liquid
Liter or milliliter
Gallon, quart, pint, or fluid ounce
Linear
Meter, centimeter, millimeter
Yard, foot, or inch
Area
Square meter, square decimeters, square centimeter, square millimeter
Square yard, square foot, square inch
Volume
Liter and milliliter
Cubic yard, cubic foot, cubic inch
Dry measure
Bushel, peck, dry-quart, dry-pint

What symbols can be used for SI units and inch-pound units?
SI Units:                                                                     Inch-Pound Units:            
centimeter
cm
avoirdupois
avdp
square centimeter
cm2
ounce
oz
cubic centimeter
cm3
piece
pc
meter
m
count
ct
square meter
m2
pint
pt
cubic meter
m3
cubic
cu
millimeter
mm
pound
lb
cubic decimeter
dm3
each
ea
square decimeter
dm2
feet or foot
ft
kilogram
kg
quart
qt
gram
g
fluid
fl
milligram
mg
square
sq
liter
L or l
gallon
gal
milliliter
mL or ml
weight
wt
micrometer
um
inch
in
  yard
yd
  liquid
liq
  drained
dr
  diameter
dia

SI prefixes that may be used in conjunction with SI units
Prefix
Symbol
Multiplying Factor*
kilo-
k
x 103
deca-**
da
x 10
deci-**
d
x 10-1
centi-***
c
x 10-2
milli-
m
x 10-3
micro-****
u
x 10-6
* 102=100; 103=1000; 10-1=0.1; 10-2=0.01
** Not permitted on food labels.
*** Should only be used with "meter".
**** Shall only be used for measurements less than 1mm.

More information