Quality Control

Packaged Commodities
This program visits packers, distributors and retailers to audit the contents of packaged products. The contents must equal the amount stated on the label. Routine inspections of meat counters, bakeries, and deli sections of supermarkets are conducted. Samples of packages are taken and re-weighed using the county's scale or measured in calibrated flasks. The labeled amount and the true net contents are compared. Some commodities require special test methods and are given certain allowances for moisture loss, and individual variances are factored in.

Testing Commodities
Every type of commodity is subject to quantity control inspection, not just food items. Categories of commodities tested include:
  • Automotive and industrial lubricants, chemicals, and cleaners
  • Bread and bakery items
  • Building materials and maintenance supplies
  • Cheese and dairy products
  • Farm products and supplies
  • Feed and grain
  • Packaged seed and garden products
The State Division assigns commodity categories to different counties on a quarterly basis, so the same categories of products are inspected over a wide geographical area.

Were you charged the lowest advertised price? Bar code readers, scanners, and price look-up systems have replaced individual prices on items. Price verification consists of periodic simulated purchases at businesses utilizing scanners, or point-of-sale systems, in an effort to eliminate unfair competition and "bait and switch" activities. This area has become more important because many or all stores of national chains determine their pricing through a central computer; an error in one store is an error in them all.

Testing Commodities
Test purchases of other commodities are also conducted, such as:
  • Deli items
  • Firewood
  • Hardware
  • Health foods
  • Landscape materials
  • Test sales of recyclables
  • U-haul concrete
Firewood dealers are required to leave an invoice with their name, address, date and amount of wood delivered. Any shortage from the amount invoiced is a violation.