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National Weights and Measures Week celebrates 215th year

Published: Saturday, March 8, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Agriculture recognized the efforts of its employees who work behind the scenes to make sure consumers get what they pay for during National Weights and Measures Week, March 1-7.

“Almost everything we buy, from a gallon of gas to a pound of ground beef, is sold by weight, volume, length, count, or measure,” Bob Flider, agriculture director, said.

“The fact consumers rarely question the accuracy of weights and measures is an indication our employees are doing their job to ensure fairness in the marketplace. I commend them for their hard work, not only this week that is set aside in their honor, but also every other week of the year.”

Weights and Measures employees use highly-accurate equipment to inspect scales at supermarkets, warehouses, packing plants, feed mills, shipping companies, and hardware stores, as well as meters at gas stations and motor fuel terminals. Last year, more than 136,000 devices were tested.

“The accuracy of their testing equipment is ensured by our Metrology Lab,” Doug Rathbun, bureau chief of weights and measures, said. 

“The lab, which is certified by the Institute of Standards and Technology, calibrates the equipment to meet exacting national standards.  Use of those standards guarantees that a specified quantity of product, whether measured by the gallon or pound, will be the same in Illinois as it is in every other state.”

Weights and Measures Week was proclaimed to commemorate the signing of the first U.S. weights and measures law by John Adams on March 2, 1799.

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