«The meat I have bought weighs 1/5 less than what it says. The same there is an explanation that happens to me ». In this way, a consumer on social networks reported that he had bought 0.264 kilograms of Iberian pork, when it weighed, according to his own scale, 0.209: a difference of almost 60 grams.
From this tweet, there are several users who have tried to do the same thing at home and, in some cases, they do notice a variation. In the midst of these tests, some profiles have ventured to accuse the chain of fraud or to invite other people to start taking small scales to the supermarket to weigh the products.
Now, is it legal or does it make any sense that there are differences between the weight marked and the label? There are different answers.
The law establishes a margin of error
Doctor in Food Science and Technology Miguel A. Lurueña, has explained through a thread on Twitter that the case of the weight is not rare nor does it have a single answer.
– Miguel A. Lurueña (@gominolasdpetro) August 30, 2022
The first thing to highlight, because it could be the first reason, is the margin of error. As in any measurement, there is a percentage of failure determined by law: that is, the labeled weight may not be exact, within certain limits.
These limits are set Royal Decree 1801/2008, which establishes the 'rules relating to nominal quantities for packaged products'. In such a way that, according to current legislation, the weight can vary between 9% and 1.5% depending on the nominal weight, being: 9% from 5 to 50 grams/milliliters, 4.5% from 101 to 200 g /ml, 3% from 301 to 500 g/ml and 1.5% from 1,001 to 10,000 g/ml.
This means that, for example, if a container is labeled with a weight of 50 grams and in reality this product weighs 45g, then it will be within the legality.
There are some products, such as pickled mussels, which by their nature do not need to be indicated by weight, but by units. This is due to the fact that there are certain foods that, after packaging, can lose a lot of weight -the expert gives the example of fuet-.
At the same time, it is also indicated that it may be due to an error in measurement. On the one hand, it may be from the company itself that, when weighing, has placed something on the scale or has removed part of the product. On the other hand, the scale we have at home may not be properly calibrated.
Another completely different practice is that of reduflationin which there is an intention to sell less food but without reducing the price.