Weights and Measures

Uniform weights and measures among state and local jurisdictions facilitate trade, allow for fair competition among businesses, and ensure consumer protection because consumers are provided with accurate and easy to understand information about the products they are purchasing.

Commodities in liquid form shall be sold by liquid measure or by weight. Commodities not in liquid form shall be sold only by weight, by measure, or by count.

Selling your Product by Weight

Scale Requirements: The Colorado Measurement Standards Act (MSA) covers scales, general packaging and labeling requirements, pricing accuracy and commodity method of sale.  Scale specifications and tolerances are in Handbook 44 published by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and incorporated into the MSA.

Commercially used scales must be legal for trade. A legal for trade device is one that has been issued a Certificate of Conformance by the National Type Evaluation Program (NTEP). Most scale companies will be knowledgeable regarding whether a device is legal for trade.

The owner must obtain a license to operate their device prior to its commercial use.

Licensing: To obtain a license for a commercial weighing or measuring device, either apply online for a small service fee or apply for a license by mail with a check or money order by filling out an application for licensing and sending the completed form and fees to our mailing address:

Colorado Department of Agriculture/ICS
Measurement Standards
700 Kipling Street, Suite 4000
Lakewood, CO  80215
Phone: (303) 477-4220

Note that licenses run from July 1st to June 30th of each year, and fees are based on the capacity of scales or device types to be licensed. Multiple inspectors from the Colorado Department of Agriculture annually test all commercial scales at farmers’ markets and  in grocery, hardware and other stores for accuracy.

The CDA Measurement Standards Website has further information.

Fruits and Vegetables

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) at the U.S. Department of Commerce publishes Handbook 130, which provides guidelines for vendors such that consumers can compare similar methods of sale (e.g., weight and measure) for the same product at the same outlets. The following guideline applies to all sales of fruits and vegetables. There are two tables, one for specific commodities and one for general commodity groups. Search the specific list first to find those commodities that either don’t fit into any of the general groups or have unique methods of sale. If the item is not listed, find the general group in the second table. The item may be sold by any method of sale marked with an X.  NIST weights and measures handbook.

Method of Retail Sale for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Specific Commodity
Weight Count Head or Bunch Dry Measure (any size) Dry Measure (1 dry qt or larger)
Artichokes X X
Asparagus X X
Avocados X
Bananas X X
Beans (green, yellow, etc.) X X
Brussels Sprouts (loose) X
Brussels Sprouts (on stalk) X
Cherries X X X
Coconuts X X
Corn on the Cob X
Dates X
Eggplant X X
Figs X
Grapes X
Melons (cut in pieces) X
Mushrooms (small) X X X
Mushrooms (portobello, large) X X
Okra X
Peas X X
Peppers (bell and other varieties) X X X
Pineapples X X
Rhubarb X X
Tomatoes (except cherry/grape) X X X

Method of Retail Sale for Fresh Fruits and Vegetables General Commodity Groups
Weight Count Head or Bunch Dry Measure (any size) Dry Measure (1 dry qt or larger)
Berries and Cherry/Grape Tomatoes X X
Citrus Fruits (oranges, grapefruits, lemons, etc.) X X X
Edible Bulbs (onions [spring or green], garlic, leeks, etc.) X X X X
Edible Tubers (Irish potatoes, sweet potatoes, ginger, horseradish, etc.) X X
Flower Vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, etc.) X X
Gourd Vegetables (cucumbers, squash, melons, etc.) X X X
Leaf Vegetables (lettuce, cabbage, celery, etc.) X X
Leaf Vegetables (parsley, herbs, loose greens) X X X
Pitted Fruits (peaches, plums, prunes, etc.) X X X
Pome Fruits (apples, pears, mangoes, etc.) X X X
Root Vegetables (turnips, carrots, radishes, etc.) X X

NIST Handbook 130 (2009).

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