DES MOINES — Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey today highlighted the important work of the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship’s Weights and Measures Bureau as part of Weights and Measures week, which runs from March 1 to 7.
“Our Weights and Measures Bureau inspectors are on the front line of consumer protection, ensuring the accuracy of small devices, like gas pumps and counter scales, as well as large devices, such as truck scales,” Northey said. “Customers can have confidence that they are getting what they pay for at the pump and in the checkout lane at the grocery store thanks in part to these inspections.”
There are more than 70,000 licensed commercial weighing and measuring devices in Iowa, with 10 inspectors throughout the state testing for precision annually. This includes approximately 41,000 gas pump meters and more than 16,000 scales, including 5,600 large truck, livestock, platform and railroad scales as well as 10,500 small counter scales, such as those at grocery stores, farmers markets and gold buyers.
The inspectors also conduct random inspections of package for net contents, price verification (scanner check), compressed natural gas (CNG) dispensers, test LP meters for accuracy and LP cylinders for accuracy and labeling, check oil labels to make sure they are following NIST HB 130 labeling requirements and sample oil to make sure they following the American Petroleum Institute (API) requirements and fuel quality testing.
The effect of small inaccuracies in transactions can be very profound. If every gas pump in Iowa was off by just one percent the effect could be a $40 million loss for consumers. And, if the large truck scales that are used for farmers selling grain were off by one percent, the cost to Iowans could be $140 million.
Weights and Measures Week is celebrated on March 1-7 each year to commemorate John Adams signing the first United States weights and measures law on March 2, 1799.
— Iowa Department of Agriculture
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