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The Minnesota Department of Commerce Celebrates Weights and Measures Week: March 1-7, 2013

“It’s Common Cents”

March 04, 2013


For Immediate Release:

SAINT PAUL, MN – Consumers and businesses in Minnesota often forget that their confidence in buying goods depends on accurate scales and measures that ensure consumers get what they pay for, and businesses compete on a level playing field.  This is all due to the diligence of state weights and measures inspectors. The Minnesota Department of Commerce – Weights and Measures Division and the National Conference on Weights and Measures celebrates these public servants each year with Weights and Measures Week, March 1-7.

“Weights and measures enforcement is a basic, fundamental component of commerce and consumer protection,” said Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman. “The accuracy of scales for groceries and goods, and the precision of our gas pumps and fuels serve both consumers and business owners.”

The theme of Weights and Measures Week 2013 is “Common Cents.” Referencing the fact that, on average, weights and measures enforcement costs Minnesotans very little each year for this fundamental regulatory presence in the marketplace.

Small errors in a grocery store scale can cost big money, either for grocery stores or consumers. For example, according to the Department of Commerce’s Weights and Measurers Division, a typical large grocery store meat department sells 92,600 packages of meat per year.  A scale with an error of $0.01 per pound can cost up to $17,000 on the part of either consumers or grocery stores.

The date for Weights and Measures Week commemorates the signing of the first United States weights and measures law by John Adams on March 2, 1799. Since then, there have been advancements from mechanical devices to highly sophisticated, software-based weighing and measuring instruments. Today’s inspectors represent a new generation of trained professionals with expertise ranging from software security to motor fuel chemistry.  Part of the long history of weights and measures in the United States, the Minnesota Department of Commerce’s Weights and Measures Division was the state’s first consumer protection agency – created in 1885.

Minnesota consumers with questions or concerns should contact the Minnesota Department of Commerce Weights and Measures Division at (651) 215-5821. To find out more about the Weights and Measures Division and helpful consumer tips including a handy conversion tool, what to consider when buying firewood, information about gasoline quality and pricing, or to file a complaint, visit the Weights and Measures website.