The Tennessee Department of Agriculture will celebrate Weights and Measures week March 1-7, 2016. The responsibilities of weights and measures inspectors have expanded beyond the simple scales and meters and now include much more than meets the eye.


“The technology in today’s marketplace is constantly changing,” Commissioner Julius Johnson said. “Our inspectors are highly trained professionals who work to protect consumers and safeguard fair competition among businesses.”


In addition to testing gas pumps and grocery store scales, weights and measures officials are responsible for regulating a sophisticated, fast-moving marketplace. They check signage, advertisements and price computations to make sure consumers are not misled. Inspectors also verify that the fuel being sold to drivers meets quality standards.


“If a discrepancy is found, our inspectors work with the business’s management to help them understand the rules,” Weights and Measures administrator Bob Williams said. “Inspectors provide guidance, allow a short time for the retailer to fix the problem, and then return to re-inspect.”


From July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015, Tennessee inspected 93,094 fuel pumps, 18,216 scales, 767 bulk meters, and 526 liquefied petroleum gas meters. In addition, 61,533 commodity items were scanned for accurate pricing and 1,108 commodity lots were checked for accurate weights.


The Tennessee Weights and Measures laboratory maintains and houses the primary standards of mass, volume and length for the state. In spring of 2016, ground will be broken on a new metrology lab, which will include the most current equipment and testing capabilities.


Weights and Measures Week is celebrated each year to commemorate John Adams signing the first U.S. weights and measures law on March 2, 1799. Tennessee is a member of the National Conference on Weights and Measures. NCWM has developed national weights and measures standards since 1905. The organization works hard to keep pace with innovative advancements in the marketplace.