March 1, 2023
VDACS’ Weights and Measures Inspections Protect Virginia’s Consumers and Businesses
Contact: Michael Wallace
National Weights and Measures Week is recognized each year from March 1 – 7. This week commemorates the anniversary of the signing of the first weights and measures law in the U. S. in 1799 by President John Adams. This law provided each state with a set of weights and measures standards, to protect the interest of buyers and sellers of commodities.
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ (VDACS) Office of Weights and Measures is responsible for assuring that weighing and measuring devices used in commercial transactions in the Commonwealth are accurate and operate correctly.
“One of the oldest functions of government in the Commonwealth is ensuring accurate measurement of products offered for sale,” noted Joseph Guthrie, VDACS Commissioner. “Accuracy is important to both buyers and sellers. Inaccuracies can mean overpayments by consumers or the loss of products and profits for businesses. In addition to the more obvious devices that our inspectors test, such as gas pumps and grocery scales, VDACS also checks large capacity truck scales, livestock scales, packaged goods and scanners, among many others.”
The following is a summary of a few activities performed by the VDACS Office of Weights and Measures in Fiscal Year 2022:
- Conducted 11,169 calibrations of standards of mass and volume for industry and government, including state police radar tuning forks.
- Conducted 80,864 tests of weighing and measuring equipment and rejected 18,344 for inaccuracies.
- Collected and tested 5,011 samples of motor fuels to verify octane ratings, check for the presence of water in the fuel, amount of ethanol added and compliance with other standards.
- Conducted point-of-sale price verification inspections of 44,475 items using store check-out scanners.
- Verified the accurate weighing of 16,679 store-wrapped packaged items.
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