Consumer Protection Section

Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets, Division of Food Safety and Consumer Protection

Vermonters have relied on the state’s weights and measures program to protect them from fraud for over 200 years. In its early days the program checked retail farm products – such as fluid milk, meat or wool – for fair measure. Now the Consumer Protection Section also regulates propane meters, gas pumps, heavy duty scales and laser scanners. But the mission has remained the same – to establish “equity between the buyer and seller in commercial transactions where the value of commodities or services are determined by weight or measure.” The Consumer Protection Section works with businesses to ensure accuracy, and imposes penalties only as a last resort.

From July 2004 to June 2006, the Consumer Protection Section:
• Checked 55,319 packages (food or beverages packaged by retailers) for accurate weight. It found 89 percent were correct, eight percent were light and three percent were heavy.
• Tested 20,507 devices for accuracy – including scales, gas pumps, and oil and LP gas meters – finding 89 percent accurate and seven percent needing adjustment. Four percent were refused certification.
• Examined approximately 300 retail electronic scanner systems and found and corrected 24 that did not charge advertised prices within the two percent acceptable error rate.

Employees: Eight full time

FY2007 Actual Expenditures: $613,015
90 percent labor and benefits, 10 percent operating expenses

FY2007 Actual Revenues: $613,015
40 percent general fund, 60 percent special funds

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Sources: Henry Marckres, Consumer Protection Section Chief; Mary Morrison, Business Manager; Agency of Agriculture, Food & Markets website (