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Prepacked products

Prepackages (or packages prepared in advance) and their contents must indicate in the labelling the weight or volume they contain using a harmonised format, taking account of specific metrological conditions.


Council Directive 76/211/EEC of 20 January 1976 on the approximation of the laws of the Member States relating to the making-up by weight or by volume of certain prepackaged products [See amending act(s)].


The labelling of prepackages * and prepacked products * must contain various information relevant to the consumer.

Prepacked products are sold individually at a constant weight or volume chosen in advance by the filler. The weight or volume must be:

  • at least 5 grams or 5 millilitres for the smallest packages;
  • no more than 10 kilograms or 10 litres for the largest packages.

Use of the “e” sign

Prepacked products may bear the lower case letter “e” of a minimum height of 3 mm certifying that under the responsibility of the packer or the importer that the prepackages meet the requirements of this Directive in terms of quality and metrological controls (Annex I point 5 and Annex II).

The letter must be placed in the same field of vision as the indication of the nominal weight or nominal volume.

Indication of weight or volume

The labelling must indicate the volume in the case of liquid products and the weight in the case of other products.

The label of the prepacked product must also bear the weight and volume indications used in trade practice or comply with the national regulations of the destination country if such indications vary in the Member States.

The Member States may neither prohibit nor restrict the placing on the market of packaging which complies with the Directive's requirements with regard to the indication of the volume or mass and the metrological methods used.

Key terms used in the act
  • Prepackage: a prepackage is the combination of a product and the individual package in which it is prepacked.
  • Prepacked product: a product is prepacked when it is placed in a package of whatever nature without the purchaser being present and the quantity of product contained in the package has a predetermined value and cannot be altered without the package either being opened or undergoing a perceptible modification.


ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal

Directive 76/211/EEC



OJ L 46, 21.2.1976

Amending act(s)Entry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal

Directive 78/891/EEC



OJ L 311, 4.11.1978

Directive 2007/45/EC



OJ L 247, 21.9.2007

Successive amendments and corrections to Directive 76/211/EEC have been incorporated in the basic text. This consolidated version  is for reference purpose only.


Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2011 on the provision of food information to consumers [Official Journal L 304 of 22.11.2011].

Regulation (EC) No 1830/2003 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 22 September 2003 concerning the traceability and labelling of genetically modified organisms and the traceability of food and feed products produced from genetically modified organisms and amending Directive 2001/18/EC [Official Journal L 268 of 18.10.2003].

Last updated: 18.03.2012
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