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COMMONWEALTH v. HATFIELD PACKING COMPANY (03/19/63)

March 19, 1963

COMMONWEALTH
v.
HATFIELD PACKING COMPANY, APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 39, Jan. T., 1963, from order of Court of Quarter Sessions of Lehigh County, Jan. T., 1961, No. 152, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Hatfield Packing Company. Order affirmed.

COUNSEL

Charles H. Stone, with him Edward G. Ruyak, Jon F. LaFaver, Clinton R. Weidner, and Updegraff, Weidner, Stone & LaFaver, for appellant.

Wilbur C. Creveling, Jr., Assistant District Attorney, with him George J. Joseph, District Attorney, for Commonwealth, appellee.

Before Bell, C.j., Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'brien and Roberts, JJ.

Author: Roberts

[ 410 Pa. Page 453]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE ROBERTS

The Hatfield Packing Company, a processer and packer of meat products, was found guilty (before an alderman) of violating Section 7 of the Pennsylvania Commodity Act,*fn1 which provides: "No person shall distribute or sell or have in his possession with intent to distribute or sell any commodity in package form, unless the net quantity of the contents shall be plainly and conspicuously marked on the outside of the package in terms of weight, measure, or numerical count: Provided, however, That reasonable variations shall be permitted; and tolerances may be established by rules and regulations made by the department [of Internal Affairs]. Before any tolerances are granted, producers and manufacturers of commodities must make written application for a tolerance to the department,

[ 410 Pa. Page 454]

    and must furnish proof that the use value of the commodity will not be affected by the granting of the tolerance. ..."

Section 2(2)*fn2 of the Act directs that "All meat and meat products ... shall be sold by weight; ..."

Hatfield had prepared for distribution and sale meat products in cellophane or polyethylene wrappings which were not marked as to the weight of the contents thereof. Appellant's petition for appeal to the Court of Quarter Sessions of Lehigh County was denied. Appeal to this Court followed.

Appellant contends that the purposes of wrapping are to identify the product, to preserve its sanitation, and to assist the storekeeper in merchandising. At the plant, the products are placed in a cardboard box, which box is then weighed and marked. At the retail establishment, the products selected by the merchant are delivered to him and weighed in the aggregate. They are neither weighed separately nor marked individually by the packer's salesman. The court ...


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