We’ve all been there, trying to find the conversion for how many ounces are in a pound or how many liters are in a gallon. Little did you know, those measurements have a critical role within the Sacramento County Department of Agriculture and Weights and Measures
where investigating and determining measurements for a large variety of commodities is all in a day’s work.
To commemorate President John Adams’s signing of the first United States weights and measures law on March 2nd, 1799, March 1-7, 2018 has been designated as Weights and Measures Week and this year, the National Conference on Weights and Measures
is acknowledging the evolution of the measuring devices and systems since the early 20th century.
So what exactly is the Weights and Measures Division
responsible for? Quite a bit! The Weights and Measures
Division is committed to ensuring that consumers receive the full weight, count, volume, or other measurement of purchased products and oversees a variety of programs.
Each pump at a gas station is checked to ensure the grade of gas, price, ethanol content, octane rating and brand name are listed correctly. Additionally, pumps are examined for fraudulent devices such as credit card skimmers. If a pump does not pass inspection, it’s shut down until it has been repaired and passes re-inspection. In 2017, there were 267 gas stations with 8,529 fuel pumps that were inspected.
- Short Weight, Measure, or Count Inspections
Pre-packaged, priced meat products, produce and bulk items are inspected to make sure the weight on the package is the actual weight shown on the scale at the point of sale. Products listed inaccurately must be removed from the shelf and relabeled or sent back to the distribution center.
- Scanner Inspections and Registration
Annual inspections of price scanners are conducted to ensure that the price that a consumer pays is the same as the price listed on the shelf. Additionally, businesses using an automated point of sale systems, Price Look up, or Stock Keeping Units are required to register their devices with the Weights and Measures Division.
Scales throughout the county that are used to determine the cost of an item are inspected every year. This includes grocery store scales, large vehicle scales such as at the landfill, farmers’ market scales, luggage scales at the airport, and others. In 2017, there were 3,131 scales inspected in Sacramento County.
- Scanner Overcharges/Undercharges Reporting
Consumers who believe they were incorrectly charged more than the coded or posted price for a specific item can submit a report to the Sacramento County Agricultural Commissioner’s/ Weights and Measures. The claim is then investigated and is determined to be inconclusive or fraudulent and additional measures are taken, as needed.
While most consumers may be unaware of the Weights and Measures
Division and the work that its inspectors are doing around Sacramento County, their services positively impact the lives of residents by ensuring that consumers are getting what they paid for. For additional information on the Division’s programs and resources or to file a complaint, visit their website
or call 1-888-875-7226.