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Are Both Imperial and Metric Measurements Required on Packaging?

July 24, 2010
Question 

Does USA law require that packages manufactured and filled in the USA be labeled with both metric and pounds indicating the package capacity?

Answer 

Labels on packaged food regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must provide the statement of quantity in both metric terms (grams, kilograms, milliliters, liters) and U.S. Customary System terms (ounces, pounds, fluid ounces). For meat, poultry, and poultry products, which are regulated by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the statement of quantity need only be expressed in U.S. Customary System terms. The use of metric measurement is voluntary because the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FPLA), which regulates labeling of consumer commodities, exempts meat and poultry products from metric statement requirements. (See 15 USC 1459(a)(1).

For information on content labeling for cosmetics and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, as well as background information on the FPLA, please refer to the "Ask An Attorney" response from September 4, 2008.