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Weights and Measures info

Trading Standards officers routinely check the accuracy of scales, spirit measuring instruments, petrol pumps and other weights and measures equipment used by businesses.

Almost all goods today are sold by some reference to quantity- either it's weight or measure, whether by the pint, litre, gram or metre. This includes everyday items such as bread, petrol, beer, clothing material, sand or virtually anything else you can think of. Trading Standards enforce a complex set of regulations designed to ensure that the public and businesses can have confidence in their purchases and ensures fair competition.

This is done by:

  • Verifying that weighing and measuring equipment is initially accurate
  • Routinely visiting businesses and checking weighing and measuring equipment
  • Checking products already in the shops
  • Checking products when they are being manufactured or imported
  • Investigating complaints of short measure

 

The National Weights and Measures Laboratory examine patterns of weighing and measuring equipment (submitted in the UK) to determine whether their design or manufacture is such to facilitate fraud. Once such equipment has a certificate, it must conform to the pattern and pass accuracy tests carried out by a licensed verifier or an Inspector. Once the equipment has been verified or stamped it may be used for trade (this system is known as verification). There is also a system of European Community approval removing technical barriers to trade.

So, Inspectors of Weights and Measures (or Trading Standards Officers as they are more commonly known) visit trade premises and carry out inspections and verification of weighing and measuring equipment. Examples include weighing machines, weighbridges, weights, petrol pumps, spirit measuring instruments, wine and beer glasses and metre measures to name some common examples. Pre-packed goods, breads, textiles etc., are tested to ensure correct weight or measure.

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