Rising Prices Elevate the Importance of NCWM Standards in the Marketplace

Man filling up at the gas station

…rising prices and recession are when the need for weights and measures presence in the marketplace is most pronounced.

Consumers are reeling under rising prices, making it even more critical to get a full gallon at the fuel pump and a full pound at the supermarket. That is something Americans often take for granted, but few know the effort this takes on the part of state and local weights and measures inspectors across the nation.

The National Conference on Weights and Measures (NCWM) is a not-for-profit association that develops the United States standards for weights and measures in commerce. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) publishes NCWM’s standards, and the states and territories reference them in regulations for enforcement purposes. The NCWM also ensures that weighing and measuring devices are manufactured to perform in accordance with its published standards. Regulatory programs use the standards to protect consumers by verifying the accuracy of fuel dispensers, supermarket scales, price scanners, net contents of packaged goods, and more.

However, inspectors also protect the business community. Regulated industries are among the strongest advocates for effective weights and measures standards and inspection programs. “Businesses struggled to survive under the stresses of the pandemic,” said NCWM Chair Ivan Hankins of the Iowa Department of Agriculture. “It magnifies the importance of fair competition on a level playing field.”

Hankins stressed the need for consumers and businesses to support adequate funding for weights and measures regulation. “A common response by government is to cut program budgets when times are tough. Fairness and equity are always important, but rising prices and recession are when the need for weights and measures presence in the marketplace is most pronounced. Our communities facing difficult times can be harmed even more by unfair practices.”

The National Conference on Weights and Measures has developed United States weights and measures standards for commerce since 1905. It draws on the expertise of state and local weights and measures officials, federal agencies, manufacturers, retailers, and consumers, bringing the right interests together to keep pace with innovative advancements in the marketplace.

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