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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

Building Inspection is open to the public by appointment only.

For more on appointments and other services, please see the Building Inspection Coronavirus (COVID-19) page.

View all impacts to City service on the City's COVID-19 website.

Food Store Requirements

Bread on a shelfWeights and measures inspectors protect the consumer and help maintain a fair market place. At retail food establishments we inspect:


All new devices must be legal for trade. Devices must also be National Type Evaluation Program (NTEP) approved. To use a device for retail, it must have a certificate of conformance (COC). It must also be licensed with the City of Madison. We test and approve for use any scales used to buy or sell products to consumers. Inspectors follow national requirements and state laws. Devices used for customer-only estimating do not need COCs.


Package testing involves using our scale to check package weights. Inspectors do this testing annually at the larger retail food stores. Each package must have correct tare. We look at

  1. Standard pack items, or items that are the same net weight (i.e. one-pound packages of candy)

  2. Random pack items, or items that 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 must take tare on all products they weigh, whether prepackaged or not.


We inspect labels for

  1. name and full address of responsible party

  2. product identity

  3. net quantity statement on product label

Bulk Product

All product sold from a bulk food case must be sold by price per whole unit of measure (usually price per pound). This product includes cold, cooked foods that need further preparation, like heating. 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
  3. price for one item

The math must be correct (e.g. 1 oz chocolate turtles, $1.00 each, $16.00 per pound.)

Bakery Products

All bread sold from a display case must have an accurate net weight on the label or the placard. Unpackaged, non-bread bakery items can be sold by count from a display case or bulk bin.

You must follow labeling requirements if:

  • the bakery product is packaged

  • if the product is shipped to other outlets


Weights and measures inspectors also verify prices in stores using scanners. We check prices to ensure procedures are in place for activating and ending sales on product.

Two examples of situations that may lead to overcharge violations:

  • Old or incorrect sale signs

  • Product stocked in the wrong location

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

Last Updated: 10/22/2021

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