News Releases

March 03, 2008

Weights and Measures: Balancing the Marketplace

Vermont Agency of Agriculture Announces Weights and Measures Week, March 1-7, 2008

Montpelier, Vt. - On any given day, Americans make dozens of purchase decisions—at the grocery store and the gas pump, to pay a taxi fare, or feed a parking meter, or to purchase a gallon of home heating oil. As diverse as the character of these "daily necessities" may be, they all have one ingredient in common: consumers can trust that what they weigh, buy or pump, is what it says it is due to a national, local and state weights and measures system. To celebrate this system, the Agency of Agriculture announces Weights and Measures Week, Balancing the Marketplace, March 1-7, 2008.

“Weights and measures officials throughout the nation celebrate Weights and Measures Week annually to commemorate the anniversary of the signing of the first weights and measures law in the United States on March 2, 1799,” said Roger Allbee, Secretary of Agriculture.

In some states over 50 of an average family’s income is spent on items sold by weight, measure, or count. “Weights and Measures Week is to acquaint the public with the nature of this important service, which protects consumers and business interests by ensuring accurate quantity determinations,” said Henry Marckres, Chief of Consumer Protection for the Agency of Agriculture. “This week recognizes the important service to the community performed by over 2,400 state, county and local weights and measures officials throughout the country.”

This program is possible because of a set of weights and measures standards to which industry adheres and consumers can count on. What would consumers do if this system did not exist? Bring their own measuring devices to make certain that they got their fair share for each purchase? “It is not something each of us considers, but applying uniform weights and measures standards to commercial transactions is one of the most important supports to a strong national economy,” continued Marckres.

The Agency of Agriculture Consumer Protection Division specialists check that the accuracy of commercial weighing and measuring devices meet the standards set by the National Weights and Measures Conference. This protects both consumer and industry in marketplace transactions. Weights and measures officials also help ensure that products and services sold by weight or measure comply with federal, state and local laws. The Agency of Agriculture inspects over 2700 scales, 7000 gas pumps and 400 oil meters each year.

Source: Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets
Last Updated at: March 03, 2008 12:28:07