As a consumer, you’re protected by the Missouri Weights, Measures and Consumer Protection Division every time you shop. The division ensures the accuracy of all commercial weighing and measuring devices in Missouri. This is accomplished by annually certifying commercial weighing and measuring devices. The division has 14 weights and measures inspectors who certify the accuracy of small scales (those with a capacity under 1,000 pounds) and six weights and measures inspectors who certify the accuracy of large scales, such as livestock scales, vehicle scales, and grain hoppers. Any device used to determine the price of a commodity stands to be tested and certified by a weights and measures official. Whether it is a scale used in a grocery store, at a farmer’s market, or at a roadside produce stand, the device should bear an approval seal from the Weights, Measures and Consumer Protection Division. If a device is rejected, only a weights and measures official or a registered service technician can place it back in service.

The Missouri Weights, Measures and Consumer Protection Division has adopted the NIST Handbook 44 Specifications, Tolerances, and Other Technical Requirements for Weighing and Measuring Devices. This handbook sets forth procedures for inspecting large and small scales, as well as other weighing and measuring devices. An approval seal is placed on all devices that have been tested and determined to be accurate. A copy of the NIST Handbook 44 can be obtained from the U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402, telephone (202) 783-3238. There is a fee for this publication.

The National Conference on Weights and Measures offers consumers the following suggestions when shopping:

  1. Watch the scale and the amount registered. The scale should be placed so you can see the weight, price, and other information displayed.
  2. Make sure the scale shows a zero before anything is weighed. Pay only for the product, not for the packaging.
  3. If you have any questions about how a store weighs or measures products ask the manager for information first. He or she should be able to answer your questions.
  4. If a problem is not resolved, call the Missouri Weights, Measures and Consumer Protection Division at (573) 751-5639 for assistance.

Missouri’s Weights, Measures and Consumer Protection Law can be found in Chapter 413 of the Revised Missouri Statutes. Rules and regulations regarding weights, measures and consumer protection can be found in the Code of State Regulations - 2 CSR 90-21.010 through 2 CSR 90-21.060.

For further information about scales, contact the Device and Commodity Inspection Program or contact the Missouri Division of Weights, Measures and Consumer Protection at (573) 751-5639.