Building Inspection is open to the public by appointment only.
For more on appointments and other services, please see the Building Inspection Services page.
The City of Madison uses federal and state standards to ensure devices are accurate. City inspectors have authority to uphold these laws. Sellers must follow these rules for fair trade and fair treatment of buyers.
22.06 Responsibilities of Equipment Owners or Users
The City of Madison requires vendors to license devices before use. The business or scale operator must get their scale(s) licensed and certified by the City. Operators must only use licensed devices at City markets. The license is good for a calendar year, from January 1 until December 31.
22.07 Method of Sale of Commodities
Inspectors and sealers look at the selling methods used for different items. They determine if the method of sale is correct for each item. Most non-liquid commodities can be sold by net weight. Some commodities can be sold by other methods such as count or bunch. 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 have a label with the following information:
Party responsible for the product (name and address of grower/seller)
Net quantity of the product
Net weight is the weight of the product only. Net weight should never include the weight of any packaging materials. Packaging 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 must be marked with NIST Class III designation. Those newer than January 1, 1997 must also be National Type Evaluation Program (NTEP) approved. These standards ensure accurate devices for all retail transactions. If inspectors find scales with issues, they will give 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. The handout explains how to comply and avoid penalties. Business owners are responsible for knowing and following the laws.
W&M Inspectors have the authority to inspect any person, vehicle, and premise in the City to enforce the law. MGO 22.05(1) and 22.05(2).
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