What to do about short quantity packages

If you become aware that your goods are short of the stated quantity, you need to take action to resolve the issue and ensure you don't break the law.

1. Quarantine the affected packages

Quarantine the affected packages and clearly mark them as to their status. This is to prevent their accidental distribution or sale.

2. Identify the causes and solutions

Find and isolate the cause of the problem. Generally the source of a packaging problem can be traced to either unsuitable or faulty equipment or operator behaviour.

You'll need to take remedial action before the normal packing process can resume. This may include:

  • identifying any faulty equipment and getting it adjusted or repaired by an accredited service technician
  • retraining staff or more closely supervising individuals responsible for quality control.

As a responsible manufacturer or packer, you should also review your procedures and processes, including the suitability of any current quality assurance sampling plans you're using.

3. Sort the quarantined packages

If a batch of packages has been identified as containing short quantity packages, you should immediately quarantine the affected batch. Consider identifying packages that are excessively deficient and remove them from the batch as this will improve your lot’s chances of complying with the Average Quantity System (AQS).

Once you've removed underweight products from the batch, re-check a sample of the remaining packages to confirm that the batch meets all AQS requirements.

The Average Quantity System (AQS)

4. Re-label or re-pack/top up

Re-labelling the packages with the correct weight

In some situations the easiest method of ensuring your packages comply is to re-label all packages within the affected batch or lot with a lesser stated net quantity. Importers will benefit from this method if it's cost prohibitive to send them back to the factory, or if you're unable to repackage the goods.

Caution is advised when using this method, as the altered net quantity label must still meet all labelling requirements. You should also check with your customers to confirm this won't affect their own requirements.

General quantity labelling requirements

Re-packing or topping up

Re-packing or topping up deficient packages so that they contain the stated net quantity is an acceptable method of altering your batch to make it comply.

Once you've adjusted the deficient packages, re-check a sample of the altered batch to confirm that it meets all requirements.

5. Notify the supply chain

If you identify that short quantity goods have been distributed, contact the affected outlets. Advise them to check their stock and remove any affected items from sale.