Weights & Measures

Purpose and Scope of Our Work

Market Point-of-Sale system and scale at a retail location

Most consumer transactions involve some form of weighing and measuring. Whether you are purchasing gasoline, buying cut firewood, buying fresh produce at the market, or recycling bottles and cans, you rely on the accuracy of the scale or meter that is involved in the transaction. Our Weights and Measures Division provides consumer protection with each transaction by precise and continuous inspection and testing of each device used throughout Fresno County.

Our Weights and Measures Department also checks packaged commodities for exactness in quantity statements and California labeling regulations. The use of uniform weights and measures is essential, even though many buyers and sellers are rarely aware of them. Our mission is to ensure that consumers have the information necessary to make a meaningful and reliable value comparison. Our staff works diligently to ensure an equitable marketplace and to protect the interests of Fresno County buyers and sellers.

Antique scale

Price verification is another role that our Weights and Measures Division serves. Inspectors do periodic inspections at retail locations to verify posted prices are correctly charged, the Point of Sale devices used by the store are updated with the current prices displayed on either store shelf price tags or weekly ads, and the customer can view the transactions on a display.

Old catalogues indicate that this ornate scale housed in the offices of the Fresno Ag Commissioner was likely made soon after the Civil War. It bears a seal of the Los Angeles County sealer for the year 1900.

Our Weights and Measures staff routinely verifies the accuracy of gasoline and diesel pumps, fueling station pricing signs, liquid petroleum gas (Propane) dispensers/delivery trucks, and other petroleum products offered for sale. They regularly inspect and certify scales of all types, from jewelry scales to livestock and truck scales. Dispensing meters, such as purified water dispensers, are also tested.

Our staff routinely verifies the accuracy of gasoline and diesel pumps.

 A Livestock scale in Fresno County Plastic bottles ready to be weighed at a recycle center

Scale and meter certification is legally required on an annual basis when selling any commodity by weight or measure. In Fresno County most devices are tested on site, while some must be brought to our office for testing and sealing. Produce scales are brought into our office for annual certification prior to their use in the local farmers markets. For fuel truck meters, taxi meters, electric meters, or any other required device testing, please call to schedule an appointment.

When a device measures incorrectly, charges incorrect item prices, or produces any other issue regarding the buying or selling of anything by weight or measurement, the device or location must discontinue the device’s use or operation until it is working within full compliance.

While we perform routine, required device testing, we also depend on our consumers’ eyes and ears to help us identify and rectify any issues. If you suspect any problems with any weighing or measuring device within Fresno County, a discrepancy in packaging quantity or labeling, or any other concern, please let us know.

Device Testing Appointments

For device testing appointments or complaints and concerns, please contact us:

Fresno County Department of Agriculture – Weights and Measures Division
1730 S Maple Ave
Fresno, CA 93702

Fresno County Weights and Measures Links

Helpful Weights and Measures Links

Weights and Measures FAQs

I just filled up my 2.5-gallon gas can and it held 2.9 gallons of gasoline, are the service stations ripping us off?

Likely no, most gas cans will hold 5% to 10% more than the stated quantity, the extra space is for expansion and to help prevent spillage. A 2.5-gallon gas can will typically hold approximately 2.9 to 3.3 gallons of gasoline.

I filled my fuel tank with more than it says it holds. Is this possible?

Yes. The capacity of your vehicle fuel tank found in your owner’s manual is only an estimate. The actual volume it holds can be higher or lower than the stated capacity. If you still feel that the pump may be inaccurate, contact the County Department of Weights and Measures to file a complaint.

Can I use any scale for my business or does it have to be a certain type?

It must be of a type that has been previously approved for use by the State of California. Some unapproved scales will state “not legal for trade” on the device. If you are unsure if a scale is approved for your application, visit www.ncwm.com and use the NTEP Certificate Search to search for the scale in question.

How do I file a gas station complaint?

The first thing to do is to get as much information as possible. Know the pump number, the grade of gas, the check stand number, the aisle number where the item is located, the address of the establishment, take pictures and any other information you think might be pertinent. Call our office with this information at 559-600-7510. We would like to have your address and daytime phone number. However, you may remain anonymous if you wish. Complaints are vital to our department. We take all complaints very seriously, and we respond to these as quickly as we can.

What are the dimensions of a cord of wood?

128 cubic feet. The law requires wood to be sold by the cord or fractions thereof unless sold in a size less than 1/8 cord (16 cubic feet). When there is less than 1/8 cord, it must be sold by the cubic foot, or a fraction of the cubic foot. A fraction of the cubic foot includes cubic inches. Stack your wood neatly by placing the wood in a row, with the pieces touching and parallel to each other, and with as few gaps as possible. Multiply the length times the width times the height of the stack. If this equals 128 cubic feet, then you have a cord of wood. Common measurements of a cord of wood are 8 feet by 4 feet by 4 feet, and 16 feet by 2 feet by 4 feet.

To measure wood accurately, it should be stacked neatly by placing the wood in a row, with the pieces touching and parallel to each other, and with as few gaps as possible.

How often are devices inspected?

Most devices such as retail motor fuel, computing scales and LPG dispensers are inspected annually while other devices such as sub-meters are inspected on a 10-year cycle.

Does my scale need to be registered with and tested by the County?

Your scale must be registered with the County and tested annually if

  • You are engaging in direct sales (buying/selling directly to customers based on the weight of the goods). Examples: deli scales, carnicería scales, recycling scales;
  • You are packaging/processing Cannabis products; or
  • You are part of another program that requires a County seal, i.e. Weighmaster, USDA, etc.

My device (scale, gas pump, etc.) failed testing and was red tagged. When will you be back to retest it and put a seal one it once I get it fixed?

Once your device is repaired by a Registered Service Agency (RSA) the device is correct and can be used. The County is not required to come back and retest and seal your device.

What is my fee this year?

*Our fees are subject to change at any time.