Be careful in your buying habits. Jayesh Patel, who runs Classic News in Northampton, buys multipacks of confectionery from discounters and then splits them up to sell singly.
He went to a National Federation of Retail Newsagents meeting a while ago and the subject came up.
“They said it was illegal to sell them singly,” he told me.
In the past I had reported that it was okay to split up multipacks of Coke. Around the rim of the outer it declares itself a multipack, but the individual cans, although without barcodes, do not say ‘cannot be sold separately’. When I rang the Trading Standards Institute to query this at the time the press officer said: “Funnily enough, I’ve got a can of Coke in front of me right now that I just bought and it doesn’t have a bar code on it either.”
He pointed out that, as long as the price was clear and the label had the manufacturer’s name on it, list of ingredients, quantity contained and any pertinent warnings about additives and allergies, it was fine.
It also had to be in English. Coca-Cola - along with a load of other soft drink brands - made the headlines in 1998 after the UK market was flooded with products from Holland and Spain. A High Court ruling confirmed that the labels had to be in English.
In the interest of research I bought a five-pack of Mars bars (the sacrifices I make) and had a look. The problem here is that the outer wrapper has all the required information, but the five bars inside do not. They say ‘not for individual resale’ in two places and ‘allergy information: see pack’. Trading Standards would take a dim view of selling in singles as the ‘packaging’ would not be present.
I checked with Trading Standards to see whether you could still be fined up to £5,000 if convicted for incomplete labelling - and you could.