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Friday, 21 July, 2000, 17:46 GMT 18:46 UK
Tesco faces court over pounds and ounces
Tesco says that it is well within the law
The supermarket chain Tesco could be taken to court for selling food using pounds and ounces.

The store took the decision after a survey of more than 1,000 customers showed nine out of 10 still used imperial measurements in their heads.

But the trading standards office is questioning the legality of the move, saying it is "very concerned" about Tesco's signs in its shops, which feature imperial measures.

Under European regulations enforced at the beginning of the year, the metric system of grams and kilograms must take precedence over imperial.

Imperial on advertising boards

Advertising boards in Tesco stores now feature imperial measures only - while food on the shelves will be labelled in both metric and imperial.

Scales at the stores' fruit and vegetable and deli counters feature both measurements so customers have the choice.

Scales measuring products at the till will remain in metric, in compliance with EU law.

The company stresses that it is well within the law.

"We are 100 per cent legal," said Tesco spokesman Russel Craig.

"Metric measurements are shown at the point of sale, on packaging and checkout print-outs, completely observing the law "We are showing imperial weights by hanging boards from the ceiling and showing special offers. The shelf edge labelling shows metric and imperial at the same time," he said.

Mr Craig said the pounds and ounces signs went up on Monday and on the next day the number of Tesco customers rose by 10,000.

"The customers love it - we are not being anti-Europe, we are being pro-customer."

Heavy fines

As the law stands, shopkeepers can be fined 2,000 for pricing loose goods such as fruit and vegetables solely in imperial.

Since October 1995, all goods sold pre-packaged have had to be labelled in the metric system of grams and kilograms.

A poll, commissioned by the British Weights and Measures Association (BWMA) last year, said most people preferred to maintain imperial measures, alongside metric.

The survey, carried out by an independent polling company, found 72% of youngsters and adults in the UK wanted to keep imperial measures.

In fact, many young British people have divided loyalties, using a hybrid that mixes pints with litres, miles with metres, stones with kilograms.

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