County Sealers of Weights and Measures
Each year county weights and measures officials inspect and test packaged commodities and all commercially used devices. Transactions derived from the use of such devices are also inspected for accuracy. In addition to inspection activities, weights and measures officials provide education and training to the public as well as the regulated industries. Your weights and measures official is a "third party" to virtually any transaction you may make based upon the activities in the following programs.
Persons that sell, rent, install, service or repair commercial weighing and measuring devices are required to be licensed with the State of California Division of Measurement Standards (www.cdfa.ca.gov/dms/). The lawful licensing of service agencies and their employees assists with the integrity of the device repair industry. Service agents must report their work to county weights and measures officials. This program allows for the efficient review of Service Agent activities in order to validate and verify the accuracy and appropriate use of commercial weighing and measuring devices.
County weights and measures officials inspect and test various types of commercial weighing and measuring devices throughout the county. Examples of some of the types of devices inspected are: gasoline dispensers, propane / butane meters, electric meters, taxi meters, odometers on ambulances, farm milk tanks, pharmacy scales, livestock scales, wire and rope meters, concrete batch plant scales, etc. Each meter type requires special test equipment. Instruments used to determine volume, distance, dimensions, and time are all measuring devices. The measuring device that people are most familiar with is the gas pump. County weights and measures officials test each fuel meter by dispensing five gallons into calibrated measuring containers, first at the fast (or open) speed, and then five gallons at the slow (restricted) speed. Inspectors also compare the monetary computations, check that the tamper-proof seal on the meter adjustment is intact, in addition to other required regulatory activities.
All such devices are under the jurisdiction of weights and measures and are tested for accuracy and inspected to determine if they are appropriate for their intended use. Once that is determined the inspector certifies the device by affixing an official seal. Various other non-commercial devices can be inspected by request for a fee.
After the devices have been certified, how can one be assured that they are getting everything for which they have paid? The Quantity Control Program provides that answer. The basic activities of the Quantity Control Program include: verifying that businesses request only the correct amount of payment when customers make purchases, checking packages for accuracy of net content statements, and enforcement of Federal Fair Packaging and Labeling Act requirements.
During a price accuracy inspection, commodities are selected at random and a purchase is simulated or made to determine if consumers are being charged the correct price. California law states that the correct price of any item is the lowest quoted or advertised price for which the buyer qualifies (club, coupon, minimum amount purchases, etc). The business is responsible for removing expired shelf tags and sale signs. All consumer complaints received by the County Weights and Measures Division are promptly investigated. If conditions of non-compliance are verified, violations can result in enforcement action.
Test purchases are made at various establishments throughout the county in order to check the accuracy of transactions. Examples of commodities that are test purchased include deli items, health foods, hardware, landscape materials, firewood, etc.
PACKAGED COMMODITIES INSPECTIONS
The County Weights and Measures officials visit packers, distributors and retailers to verify the accuracy of the labeled net contents of packaged products. The contents must meet or exceed the quantity stated on the label. Samples of packages are re-weighed using the county’s certified scale, or measured in calibrated flasks. The labeled quantity and the true net contents are compared. As part of the same inspection, package labeling is examined for compliance with the appropriate labeling requirements
Every type of packaged commodity is subject to quantity control inspection, not just food items. Some examples include packaged seed and garden products, building and maintenance supplies, feed and grain, cheese and dairy products, chemicals, cleaners, as well as automotive and industrial lubricants.
Weighmasters are licensed by the State of California, Division of Measurement Standards to certify the weight, measurement or count of any commodity. The Riverside County Weights & Measures Division works jointly with the state to enforce California’s weighmaster laws and regulations within the county. The certificates issued by weighmasters are recognized by courts of law as being a legal document. As such, there are criteria that must be followed by weighmasters when issuing weighmaster certificates. Training is provided and inspections are performed by county weights and measures officials to ensure the correctness of the certificates issued. Inspections include record audits, tare verifications and occasional test sales or purchases. Diverse businesses such as wineries, cement plants, scrap yards, dairy coops, moving and storage companies, livestock dealers, quarries and feed mills must all be licensed weighmasters.
The Petroleum Products program seeks to provide customer confidence when purchasing petroleum and automotive products by ensuring uniformity, fairness and honest competition in the marketplace. County weights and measures officials, in partnership with State of California Division of Measurement Standards enforce automotive fuel and product regulations to ensure that they meet the minimum standards for quality, octane, and contamination. The quality of other products such as brake fluid, motor oil, and automatic transmission fluid and anti-freeze is also checked. Additionally, petroleum and automotive product labeling, fuel dispenser labeling, and gasoline price signs are inspected. This program also enforces the posting of signs relating to disabled drivers services and air and water equipment. Enforcement action is taken on all gasoline samples found to be out of compliance.