Proposed improvements in the standard that retailers must follow when they voluntarily offer unit pricing information for making value comparisons (between products or different sizes of the same brand) will be among the issues addressed by state and local government officials attending the 82nd Annual Meeting of the National Conference on Weights and Measures in Chicago on July 20-24, 1997.
The proposed changes in the Uniform Unit Pricing Regulation (known as the UPR) will give stores more choice in selecting the units they use for unit pricing as long as the units are consistently and uniformly expressed. Provisions for expressing unit prices in metric units also have been added. Finally, the small package exemption from unit pricing requirements has been changed from items costing “10 cents or less” to “50 cents or less.”
The NCWM, sponsored by the Commerce Department’s National Institute of Standards and Technology, is a standards-writing organization made up of state and local weights and measures officials (who are the voting members) and representatives of federal government, industry and consumer organizations. The uniform laws and regulations developed by the NCWM become mandatory when they are adopted by the states, local governments, or federal regulatory agencies.
Another highlight of the NCWM’s annual meeting is a special presentation on the Food and Drug Administration’s proposed rule to establish national procedures for checking the conformance of packaged products to net contents labeling requirements. The FDA proposal is based on procedures developed by the NCWM and incorporated into NIST Handbook 133, Checking the Net Contents of Packaged Goods. The procedures are used by regulatory officials and packagers to check compliance with net contents regulations.
Issuance of separate National Type Evaluation Program Certificates of Conformance (known as CCs) for software used by weighing and measuring devices is a third topic to be addressed at the annual meeting. NTEP, which is sponsored jointly by the NCWM and NIST, tests model weighing and measuring devices to determine if they conform to the requirements of NIST Handbook 44, Specifications, Tolerances, and Other Technical Requirements for Weighing and Measuring Devices. Up to now, NTEP has been issuing separate CCs for software. The NCWM has studied the impact of issuing CCs in this manner as opposed to issuing them only for weighing or measuring devices in which the software already has been installed. A recommendation from the NTEP Board of Governors to continue issuing separate CCs for software will be up for a vote.
NCWM members also will vote on a proposal to require specific information on printed receipts for all transactions conducted with point-of-sale systems in retail stores or devices activated by debit cards, credit cards and cash that are interfaced with retail motor-fuel dispensers. The proposal does not apply to fleet sales or other contract sales. Items to be included on the receipt are the total volume of the delivery, the unit price, the total computed price and the product identity.
As a non-regulatory agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Technology Administration, NIST promotes economic growth by working with industry to develop and apply technology, measurements and standards.