The correct abbreviations (symbols) to use when indicating units of weight or volume for trading purposes
This guidance is for England, Scotland and Wales
If you are indicating units of weight or volume, only the permitted abbreviations (symbols) can be used. These are shown in the table below.
|Unit of measurement||Symbol|
|litre||l or L|
|centilitre||cl or cL|
|millilitre||ml or mL|
Vulgar fractions are not permitted (unless it relates to a fraction of a pint). For example, 500 g cannot be expressed as 1/2kg.
If the word 'net' is used it cannot be abbreviated.
Supplementary imperial units
Imperial units can be shown as well, but they must not be more prominent than the metric indication. The permitted units are shown in the table below.
|Unit of measurement||Abbreviation|
|fluid ounce||fl oz|
Except where the law and trade practice dictates otherwise, liquids should be marked with a volume (ml or L, for example) and other products by weight (g, kg, etc).
Under the Weights and Measures (Quantity Marking and Abbreviations of Units) Regulations 1987, quantity indications must be easily visible, legible, and indelible; they must also be of a minimum height, depending on the pack size.
For more information on the work of trading standards services - and the possible consequences of not abiding by the law - please see 'Trading standards: powers, enforcement and penalties'.
Last reviewed / updated: June 2021
In this update
No major changes
This information is intended for guidance; only the courts can give an authoritative interpretation of the law.
The guide's 'Key legislation' links may only show the original version of the legislation, although some amending legislation is linked to separately where it is directly related to the content of a guide. Information on amendments to legislation can be found on each link's 'More Resources' tab.
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