PA, Local Governments Inspected Nearly 167,000 Weights and Measures Devices in 2009

Jun 17, 2010, 15:20 ET from Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

Annual Report Shows How Officials Work to Protect Consumers, Ensure Equitable Marketplace

HARRISBURG, Pa., June 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Last year, state, county and municipal officials inspected nearly 167,000 weighing and measuring devices, providing consumers with some peace of mind that they're getting what they pay for, Agriculture Secretary Russell C. Redding said today as he unveiled the 2009 Weights and Measures Annual Report.

"From checking the fuel pumps that power our cars to the scales and scanners used at grocery and other stores, weights and measures officials are working hard to ensure equity in the marketplace," said Redding. "This effort is critical to our mission to protect consumers by ensuring that commerce in Pennsylvania is fair and not negatively impacted by faulty equipment or individuals attempting to manipulate the marketplace."

In 2009, the department performed 85,924 reported device, system and commodity inspections at 15,304 establishments. The department issued 33 written warnings as a result of those inspections for devices that were not in compliance, which led to three prosecutions and one imposed fine.

County and city programs inspected another 81,003 devices.

Redding encouraged consumers to take an active role in weights and measures transactions. If you find a faulty device, first contact the business operator. If he or she cannot or will not help, call the Department of Agriculture's toll-free weights and measures consumer line at 1-877-TEST-007 (1-877-837-8007).

In 2009, the department also created an online complaint form that consumers can use to alert the state to potentially inaccurate devices. The form is accessible by visiting www.agriculture.state.pa.us and clicking on "Contact."

The online form and toll-free number yielded 295 complaints regarding state-inspected devices.  Each consumer complaint was thoroughly reviewed, with 233 resulting in investigations by the department. An additional 282 consumer complaints were handled by county and city programs.

Consumers can access state weights and measures inspection reports using a new online tool launched this year at www.pda.state.pa.us/WMInspections.

The Division of Weights and Measures, part of the Department of Agriculture's Bureau of Ride and Measurement Standards, helps ensure equity in the marketplace through laws and regulations, uniform inspection and test procedures, and certified and knowledgeable inspectors.

All scales – ranging from small-retail to large-capacity truck scales, truck-mounted fuel meters, liquid petroleum gas meters, retail fuel pumps, and consumer scanning systems at retail store checkouts – must be inspected. The department also provides oversight for 50 local sealers in the remaining 18 counties and two city weights and measures programs.

To view the full 2009 Weights and Measures Annual Report, visit www.agriculture.state.pa.us and click on "Publications."

Media contact: Nicole L. C. Bucher, 717-787-5085

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture



RELATED LINKS

http://www.agriculture.state.pa.us