The labelling of prepackages and their contents must indicate the weight or volume they contain in a harmonised way and under specific metrological conditions. There are 2 major pieces of legislation on standardised filling in this sector: on filling packages and on glass bottles. Both laws are widely applied in the EU and fully recognised by national authorities.
See the summary of the legislation in different languages.
The legislation was evaluated by the Commission in a report of 4 July 2016:
- Commission report to the European Parliament and Council
- Staff working document
- Evaluation report (8 MB)
Under Directive 76/211/EEC packers and importers have the option to fill prepackages according to a standardised method. Such pre-packed products can then be freely marketed throughout the EU. They are recognisable by the large e-mark on the label or packaging, next to the indication of quantity (volume or weight).
Directive 75/107/EEC offers manufacturers the option to produce harmonised glass bottles used as measuring containers. This is indicated on the bottom of such bottles with a reversed epsilon marking (“З”) next to the indication of quantity (volume).
Public consultation on packaging (2005)
Following its 2005 consultation of stakeholders – and subsequent discussion in the WELMEC – the Commission concluded that no further changes in EU law were needed, because the issues identified could be dealt with by guidance.
- Report on 2005 packaging consultation (122 kB)
- Metrological requirements of pre-packages – 2005 consultation document (296 kB)
- Business impact analysis on conformity assessment in pre-packages (1 MB)
- Directive 76/211/EEC - making-up pre-packaged products (by weight or volume)
- Directive 75/107/EEC - bottles used as measuring containers
- Directive 2009/34/EC - Framework Directive on measuring instruments & metrological control methods (recast of Directive 71/316/EEC).
Guidance documents and their status
In its evaluation report, the Commission concluded that it would "seek to promote the exchange of good practice between stakeholders and develop guidance". This was to ensure a coherent application of the pre-packaging directives. Guidance documents are conceptual in their set-up and give a general context on questions of application that may arise.
The guidance documents have been agreed upon by WELMEC (European Cooperation in Legal Metrology). WELMEC is comprised of representatives from national authorities in pre-packaging who have consulted European and national trade organisations where relevant.
The guidance documents are not a legally binding interpretation of the directive. The legally binding text remains that of Directives 75/107/EEC and 76/211/EEC, as amended by Directive 2007/45/EC. However, the guidance documents represent a reference for ensuring consistent application of the directives by all competent departments.
Application of Directives 75/106/EEC and 76/211/EEC concerning the marking and quantity control of e-marked prepackages: Definition of terms
Application of Directives 75/106/EEC and 76/211/EEC concerning the marking and quantity control of e-marked prepackages: Translation of terms
Guidance for harmonised implementation (Directive 76/211/EEC)
Guide for packers and importers of e-marked prepacked products
Guidance on controls by competent departments on e-marked prepackages
Guidance for market control on prepackages for competent departments
Guidance for verification: drained weight, drained washed weight and deglazed weight and extent of filling of rigid food containers
Guidance for prepackages whose quantity changes after packing