Be Wary of Shrinking Garlic Packs

31/03/2014 10:04

The Consumer Council of Fiji is urging consumers to properly check the weight of pre-packed garlic when shopping.

The reminder comes in light of recent survey carried out by the Council in the Western Division on pre-packed 500 grams garlic sold in prominent supermarkets.

During the survey, the Council found some garlic pre-packed net weight was labeled as 500g but actual weight ranged from 390g to 490g. This weight further reduces over time while on the shelves.

According to the Trade Measurement Packaging Regulation 46 for pre-packed items such as potatoes, onions and garlic the actual permissible deficiency is 5 percent. So for single pre-packed 500g garlic, the maximum deficiency should be 25 grams only, which means it should not weigh less than 475 grams.

The permissible deficiency is to allow for any natural shrinkage that occurs on the garlic over time. It is not there to allow traders to misrepresent the true weight of the garlic. Traders must always provide the accurate weight of the garlic on the labeling, in this case 500g.

Some supermarkets had labeled their pre-packed 500g garlic to account for the loss of weight by stating 450g-490g. This is misleading and should not be allowed. Traders should always state the weight of “500g” for this pre-pack garlic.

Furthermore, traders cannot use the term "net weight when packed" for pre-packed garlic (onions and potatoes).

The Council is urging store managers to provide accurate weights for garlic because the price consumers are paying is linked to weight. Traders must ensure that consumers get what they pay for. Consumers also have an option to buy the garlic in loose where they can pay based on weight.

The Council is also advising consumers to check the quantity of goods they are buying and to always weigh the pre-packed items before it is purchased.We also advise that consumers go for loose garlic as they are in a better position to check the garlic quality and weight. Consumersshould also be proactive and not hesitate to raise any issues over quality to store manager’s in-store.