Food Store Requirements

Bread on a shelfWeights and measures inspectors protect the consumer and help maintain an equitable market place. At retail food establishments we inspect: Scales, Packaging, Labeling, Bulk Product, Bakery Products, and Scanners.

Scales: The City of Madison requires all new device installations to be legal for trade and National Type Evaluation Program (NTEP) approved. The device must have a certificate of conformance (COC) to be used for retail trade, and must be licensed with the City of Madison. We test and approve for use any scales used to buy or sell products to consumers in accordance with national requirements and state laws. Devices used for customer-only estimating do not need COCs.

Packaging: Package testing--using our scale to check package weights--is done in all of the larger retail food stores annually. Each package must have correct tare. We look at both standard pack items (items are the same net weight, i.e. one-pound packages of candy) and random pack items (items have individual weights, i.e. meat packages). We also check to make sure products weighed at the front registers using PLUs have tare deducted. The store is responsible for taking tare on all product they weigh, whether it was prepackaged or not.

Labeling: We inspect labels for 1) name and full address of responsible party, 2) product identity and 3) net quantity statement on product label.

Bulk Product:, All product sold from a bulk food case (including foods that are cooked, but sold cold, and require further preparation like heating) must be sold by price per whole unit of measure (usually price per pound). This must be the primary method of sale for the product. Very few products are exempt.

If a business wants to sell an item by the piece the placard must include 1) price per pound 2) weight for one item and 3) price for one item. The math needs to calculate correctly, example: Chocolate turtles, $1.00 each, 1 oz each, $16.00 per pound.

Bakery Products: All bread sold from a display case must have an accurate net weight statement on the label or the placard. Unpackaged, non-bread bakery items can be sold by count from a display case or bulk bin. If bakery product is packaged and/or shipped to other outlets, labeling requirements must be followed.

Scanners: Weights and measures inspectors also verify prices in stores using scanners. Prices are checked to ensure proper procedures are in place for activating and ending sales on product. Old or incorrect sales signs and product stocked in the wrong location may cause stores to have overcharge violations.

We also inspect other types of weighing and measuring devices such as meters, timing devices, etc.

Last Updated: 03/22/2017

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