A Queensland sweets manufacturer has come under fire after it was discovered they were mislabelling their products at multiple stores over an eight month period. Noosa Chocolate Factory was found to be charging customers for the weight of packaging and failing to label a product with a measurement statement.

The government doesn't take trade measurement offences lightly, a lesson Noosa Chocolate Factory had to learn through a $12,200 fine. The laws around short-changing customers are clear, and the consequences of failing to perform due diligence are firm. The only way to ensure your operation stays on the right side of the law is to use licenced, approved measuring instruments and have them calibrated regularly.

A bitter fine for a sweet product

Mislabelling products is wrong for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that it's a rip off for consumers who think they're paying for one thing, but getting another. It also puts manufacturers in unfair competition with one another by forcing legitimate producers to contend with sham operations who are selling less for more.

Australia's trade measurement laws are administered by the National Measurement Institute (NMI), and they cover a number of aspects, including:

  • Pre-packed articles (such as the chocolate in question)
  • Transactions by measurement
  • The definition of the legal units of measurement

The laws are clear about what's regulated as well as what's at stake. Noosa Chocolate Factory got off quite easily, considering that "if your business is caught short-measuring its customers, you could be fined up to $170,000 per offence as a company," according to NMI.

Getting it right with measuring instruments

You don't want an NMI inspector to alert you of trade measurement infractions.

What happens, however, if you short-change your customers by accident? It happens surprisingly often when manufacturers don't use approved scales or when they fail to calibrate instruments. NMI doesn't consider intent, and if you're found to be mismeasuring or mislabelling products, you'll be subject to fines as well as reputational damages from being seen as untrustworthy.

On the opposite side of the coin, using approved and verified equipment can also help you save money if you're inadvertently giving product away for free.

According to NMI, if you're using a measurement instrument to sell goods, it's your responsibility to make sure it's:

  • Approved and suitable for its intended purpose
  • Verified before use by a licensed technician
  • Used correctly
  • Kept clean and in working order
  • Verified after each repair or adjustment

The best way to stay on the right side of the law is to purchase accurate, reliable measuring instruments and have them calibrated and maintained regularly by licensed technicians. You don't want an NMI inspector to alert you of trade measurement infractions, so reach out to the team at SRO Technology today to see what food and beverage solutions are right for your business.