Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Weights and Measures

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (FDACS) is responsible for monitoring the accuracy of Florida's gas pumps, scales, price scanners, and other commercial weighing and measuring devices to promote a fair and equitable marketplace and protect consumers.

In addition, FDACS tests packaged goods to verify the accuracy of package labeling as it pertains to net quantity.

Select a question below to expand the answer.

Do I need a permit to operate a weighing or measuring device for commercial purposes?

Yes. Sections  531.60–531.66, Florida Statutes, require users of weighing and measuring devices to have a permit issued by FDACS prior to using the devices in commerce.

Where can I find information about obtaining a Weighing and Measuring Device Permit?

Information about obtaining a permit can be found by calling (850) 921-1590.

Do I need a commercial scale that is approved and legal for trade in order to conduct business?

If your business buys or sells any commodity or service by weight, you are required to have an approved, "legal-for-trade" device on which to conduct sales by weight. Additionally, if any award is based on weight, approved legal-for-trade commercial scales are required.

What constitutes a "legal-for-trade" scale?

A "legal-for-trade" scale is one that meets the requirements of  National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Handbook 44, 2006 Edition and is approved by the  National Type Evaluation Program (NTEP). "Legal-for-trade" devices will have an accuracy class designation, the most common being class III or III L. This designation will be on the scale, usually on the serial plate.

How do I know if a scale is "legal for trade"?

Sellers of such devices must assure the buyer that the device meets the requirements of  NIST Handbook 44, 2006 Edition and is approved by the  NTEP. These scale sales and service companies are usually (but not always) registered with the state to sell and repair commercial scales. If you have any doubts as to whether the scale you are going to purchase is legal, please contact FDACS at (850) 921-1590 for assistance.

Can I use my new scale for commercial transactions right out of the package?

No. A scale intended to be used commercially must first be inspected and approved by a state inspector or tested and “placed in service” by a registered scale service agency.

Is there a fee for testing new scales and placing them in service?

At this time there is no charge for a state inspection of a device. A registered scale company may charge a fee for this service or include the service when you purchase a scale from the company. It is our goal to inspect all newly placed-in-service devices within 30 days of notification, but if owners wish to begin legal use prior to inspection by FDACS, a registered scale company may place the device into service. An FDACS inspector will still inspect the scales.

Please note, however, that there is a charge for permitting scales and other measuring devices used in commerce in Florida. All weighing and measuring devices must be permitted prior to use. If you have any permitting questions or wish to begin the permitting process, please contact our Weights and Measures Permitting Section at (850) 921-1590.

How long is a scale approval valid when approved by FDACS?

There is no expiration on the length of time for which an approval seal is good. An inspector in your area will inspect and test the device periodically to determine its accuracy and suitability for continued commercial use.

If I have a problem with my scale, whom should I contact?

You should contact a scale repair company if you suspect there is a problem with your device. FDACS does not repair scales; however, we can provide you with the names of registered scale repair agencies in your area. Call us at (850) 921-1590.

I would like to sell firewood. Are there any regulations that would affect the way firewood must be sold?

Yes. Firewood must be sold by the cord, or a fraction of a cord. A cord is defined as 128 cubic feet of wood stacked in a compact manner, such as 4x4x8 feet. Firewood cannot be sold by “truckload," “face cord," “rack,” “pile" or any other unofficial unit of measure.

Where can I find information regarding the required package labeling information?

You should refer to Section  531.47, Florida Statutes, and Chapter  5F-3, Florida Administrative Code, for the requirements for packaging and labeling.

My business produces commodities sold in package form. What are the requirements for net contents compliance?

FDACS has adopted  NIST Handbook 133 as the procedure for testing the net contents of packaged goods.