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  1. #1

    Default Food Sold by Weight and the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FLPA)

    When a food package is sold in the USA by weight not volume, is the manufacturer allowed to include the weight of the package in the container's listed weight, or does the law require the weight to only be of the contents?

    And who governs this - the fed gov't, or the states?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
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    18,908

    Default Re: Food Sold by Weight and the Fpla

    Depends what you are talking about, and which state.

    Do you have a concrete example about what you are concerned about? The weights, federally, are for the contents, but the computation of how much the packaging (the tare in that nomenclature) varies. A nominal value that is the average for all containers is allowed rather than the exact value for each item. Also, there are different rules for things like vacuum packed items like coffee.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Food Sold by Weight and the Fpla

    I am talking about a container (cardboard, or similar) of tomato sauce, not vacuum packed.

    The container says that the contents are 17.6 oz. I squeezed all of the contents into a Pyrex glass measuring cup, and got 14.5 oz. I then cut open the carton, and scraped every last bit from the container into the cup, and am left with15.5 oz in the cup. In response to my inquiry, the company came back with the following:

    The 17.6 oz is for the container and its contents and is not the fluid ounces of the product.

    Which tells me they are including the weight of the package in that 17.6 oz, and I was under the impression that this was not allowed. If they sell 64 oz. of olive oil in a glass jar, and that jar weighs 64 oz, are they allowed to put 128 oz on the label? I am pretty sure the answer to that is no.

    Thanks.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2018
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    Default Re: Food Sold by Weight and the Fpla

    Quote Quoting riffwraith
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    I am talking about a container (cardboard, or similar) of tomato sauce, not vacuum packed.

    The container says that the contents are 17.6 oz. I squeezed all of the contents into a Pyrex glass measuring cup, and got 14.5 oz. I then cut open the carton, and scraped every last bit from the container into the cup, and am left with15.5 oz in the cup.
    An ounce and a fluid ounce are not the same thing. An ounce is a measure of weight equal to 1/16th of a pound. A fluid ounce is a measure of volume equal to 1/8th of a cup, 1/16th of a pint and approximately 29.57 ml. A fluid ounce of something may weigh more or less than an ounce. Sticking a liquid or semi-liquid product into a measuring cup will allow you to measure the volume, but that will tell you nothing about the weight of the product. 14.5-15.5 fluid ounces could very easily weigh 17.6 ounces. If the product is sold by weight, and you want to confirm that you're getting 17.6 ounces of product, you need to put it on a scale not into a measuring cup.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Food Sold by Weight and the Fpla

    Quote Quoting pg1067
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    An ounce and a fluid ounce are not the same thing. An ounce is a measure of weight equal to 1/16th of a pound. A fluid ounce is a measure of volume equal to 1/8th of a cup, 1/16th of a pint and approximately 29.57 ml. A fluid ounce of something may weigh more or less than an ounce. Sticking a liquid or semi-liquid product into a measuring cup will allow you to measure the volume, but that will tell you nothing about the weight of the product. 14.5-15.5 fluid ounces could very easily weigh 17.6 ounces. If the product is sold by weight, and you want to confirm that you're getting 17.6 ounces of product, you need to put it on a scale not into a measuring cup.
    Ok, thanks for that. Hadn't thought about the weight vs. measuring cup

    If I put the pkg on a scale, it reads 17.6 ounces. But again, that's WITH the pkg.

    Is the net quantity (weight) allowed to refer to the food AND the pkg, or JUST the food?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
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    Default Re: Food Sold by Weight and the Fpla

    Quote Quoting riffwraith
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    Ok, thanks for that. Hadn't thought about the weight vs. measuring cup

    If I put the pkg on a scale, it reads 17.6 ounces. But again, that's WITH the pkg.

    Is the net quantity (weight) allowed to refer to the food AND the pkg, or JUST the food?
    With most items the package is going to be part of it. However I can just about guarantee that the cardboard packaging isn't going to weigh 2.1 ounces by itself.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Food Sold by Weight and the Fpla

    They are not supposed to be counting the weight of the package. As I stated, NIST has set standards for estimating the tare weight across production and adjusting the declared weight to match.

  8. #8
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    Jul 2018
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    Default Re: Food Sold by Weight and the Fpla

    Quote Quoting riffwraith
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    Is the net quantity (weight) allowed to refer to the food AND the pkg, or JUST the food?
    Let's be specific as to what exactly we're talking about. In your prior post, you mentioned tomato sauce and also referred to cardboard. You're not actually buying tomato sauce packaged in cardboard, are you? Every time I've bought tomato sauce, it came in a glass jar or a can.

    According to a site that purports to summarize the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act and FDA regulations promulgated pursuant to those laws, "The net quantity of contents is a statement on the label that shows the net weight of food in a package. Only the net weight of the food is included in this statement; the weight of the container, wrapper or packing is not included. However, any water or other liquid added to food, or propellant used in an aerosol, can be included in the net weight." I have not reviewed the law or regs to be certain that this is an accurate statement. That said, the notion of including the package as part of the net weight is rather absurd because it would allow a manufacturer to package a small amount of food in a heavy container and represent that you're getting, e.g., 3 pounds of beef when, in reality, you're getting 1.5 pounds in a 1.5 pound container. That would be hugely misleading to the general public.

  9. #9
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    Sep 2010
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    Default Re: Food Sold by Weight and the Fpla

    I have bought tomatoes in "sandwich" boxes. As I stated, the procedures for computing the tare weight allow averaging across the product production so a particular container of item may be off with regard to the weight of the container, but it shouldn't be much. As stated, things that are vacuum packed, or aerosols or whatever have special accomodations. As does certain "unusable" amounts in some methods of dispensing.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Food Sold by Weight and the Fpla

    Quote Quoting pg1067
    View Post
    Let's be specific as to what exactly we're talking about. In your prior post, you mentioned tomato sauce and also referred to cardboard. You're not actually buying tomato sauce packaged in cardboard, are you? Every time I've bought tomato sauce, it came in a glass jar or a can.
    Well, I did say "cardboard, or similar"... as I didn't know exactly what the stuff is. After looking at the manu site, it says: For our carton bricks, we exclusively choose FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified packages and paper from renewable forests

    The product is Pomi tomato sauce.

    the notion of including the package as part of the net weight is rather absurd
    I agree.

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