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Agricultural Review

NCDA&CS staff check produce scales

When shoppers head to farmers markets and roadside stands across the state, they can take comfort in knowing that N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Standards Division inspectors have checked the scales of commerce at these locations to ensure fair trade.

“We work it out with farmers market managers to come in and inspect all vendors at one time if we can,” said Stephen Benjamin, director of the Standards Division. “It’s not something we can do in January but we do try to get it in before the peak of fresh produce season when the scales are in constant use.” Inspectors also stop by roadside stands that operate seasonally.

In North Carolina, anytime a scale is used to determine the price of an item, that scale should be inspected and certified by the Standards Division. Inspectors make sure scales are clean, level and accurate. A produce scale is usually a 30-pound scale that weighs items in increments of .01 pounds. To pass inspection, produce scales can’t be off more than .03 pounds. A 30-pound hanging scale has a tolerance of 1 ounce.

An NCDA&CS Standards Division seal is placed on the scale after it passes inspection. The rectangular-shaped sticker includes the year and month the scale was inspected, and are typically placed on a spot visible to consumers.

Inspectors check scales at grocery stores and other retail facilities on an annual basis or by complaint. Other seasonal inspections include pine bark and mulch in February, taxi cab meters in May and tobacco scales in June.

To report a problem with a scale, or to have a scale inspected, call the Standards Division at 919-707-3225.

NCDA&CS Public Affairs Division, Andrea Ashby, Director
Mailing Address:1001 Mail Service Center, Raleigh NC 27699-1001
Physical Address: 2 West Edenton Street, Raleigh NC 27601
Phone: (919) 707-3001; FAX: (919) 733-5047

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