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What Regulations Govern Package Sizes, Price, and Weight?

January 24, 2008
Question 

a. How does the "slack law" pertain to packaging in pouches?

b. What are the current laws or regulations that govern changes in package sizes in relationship to the price or weight?

Answer 

There are no regulations on the what price you can charge on a product in relationship to the package size. However, there is a regulation on food package size in relation to net contents. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a final regulation on "slack-fill" on December 6, 1993 (58 Fed. Reg.64136), which became effective on January 5, 1994. "Slack-fill" is defined as the difference between the actual capacity of a container and the volume of product contained therein, and "nonfunctional slack-fill" is defined as the empty space in a package that is filled to substantially less than its capacity. FDA prohibits nonfunctional slack-fill unless: (1) it performs an appropriate function, such as protecting the contents of the container; (2) it is necessary because the machines used for enclosing the contents in the package require it; (3) it is the result of "normal product settling;" (4) the package performs a specific function that is inherent to the nature of the food and is clearly labeled; (5) the product is a food packaged in a reusable container where the container is part of the presentation of the food, e.g. , a gift product; or (6) the manufacturer cannot increase the level of fill or reduce the size of the package (e.g., where a minimum package size is necessary to accommodate required food labeling, discourage pilfering, facilitate handling, or accommodate tamper-resistant devices).