Farmers' Markets

Dane County Farmer's MarketThe City of Madison adopts federal standards and state statutes (by reference) to ensure weighing and measuring devices meet high standards of quality and accuracy. City inspectors have full enforcement authority to uphold these laws. Compliance is required for fair trade and fair treatment of consumers.

22.06 Responsibilities of Equipment Owners or Users

The City of Madison requires vendors to license devices prior to use. The business or scale operator is obligated to get their scale(s) licensed and certified by the City,and use only licensed devices at City markets. The license is good for a calendar year from January 1 until December 31, or any part of that year.

22.07 Method of Sale of Commodities

Inspectors and sealers look at the selling methods used for different commodities and determine if the method of sale is correct for each commodity sold. Most non-liquid commodities can be sold by net weight. Exceptions allow some commodities to be sold by other methods such as count, bunch, etc. Fruit and vegetables have some exceptions (see table).

22.08 Declaration of Quantity

Some sellers may determine that pre-packaging and pre-pricing of their commodities works best. A pre-packaged, sealed item must be labeled with the following information: 1. product identity, 2. Party responsible for the product (name and address of grower/seller) and net quantity of the product. It is important to understand that when weight is used, NET WEIGHT is the weight of the product only and should never include the weight of any packaging materials (such materials are called tare).

98.21 Sale of Bread

Wis. Stat. Ch. 98 is very specific on the method of sale for bread. Bread must be sold by weight. The weight must either be stated on a placard, if sold from a bulk case or as a net weight on the bread's label.

Handbook 44: Retail Scale Usage Requirements

All scales used for retail must be of a commercial type and  meet NIST Handbook 44 requirements. Those newer than 1986 shall be marked with NIST Class III designation; those newer than January 1, 1997 must also be National Type Evaluation Program (NTEP) approved. These strict standards ensure that accurate devices are used for all retail transactions. Scales found not in compliance are either rejected or given a deadline for calibration, repair or replacement.


Penalties exist for noncompliance. Enforcement is a progressive process, starting with education. We developed this handout to educate sellers on the laws and how to comply, and to help sellers avoid penalties. Business owners are responsible for knowing and complying with the laws.

City of Madison Weights and Measures Inspectors have the legal authority to inspect any person, vehicle and premise in the City in order to enforce the law. This authority is granted through Chapter 22 s. 22.05(1)and (2).

Last Updated: 03/22/2017

Search BI services


Weights and Measures Inspectors

  • Contact Building Inspection

  • get it done

  • connect

  • City News