EWING, N.J. -Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes unveiled a new, state-of-the-art software system used by the County Weights and Measures Department at Marrazzo's Thriftway today, saying it will allow even greater protections for consumers.
Hughes weighed a 14-pound turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and a pumpkin pie to check that they were weighed and priced accurately as County Weights and Measures employees and Marrazzo's owner Mary Marrazzo and her father, Sam Marrazzo, looked on.
"We are the only agency in New Jersey with this new system and we are proud that it will take our ability to ensure consumers are getting what they are paying for to a new level," Hughes said. "As people prepare to head to the local supermarket to purchase turkeys and their favorite Thanksgiving foods, they can be assured that it is weighed and priced properly."
The turkey and other products Hughes inspected at Marrazzo's yesterday were all correctly weighed and priced. Afterward, Hughes purchased all the items with his credit card and donated them to the Mercer Street Friends food bank.
The computerized system, called WINWAM (Windows for Weights and Measures), is more efficient and more accurate than in the past when all measurements were calculated and recorded by hand. WINWAM, which is designed by New Jersey firm Nover, Engelstein and Associates, can make complicated calculations instantly and eliminates human error.
For example, WINWAM can scan and record the barcode on a can of instant coffee and then take the recorded information to a supermarket's checkout scanner. The barcode can then be scanned at the register to see if the price on the shelf matches the price at checkout.
Through the use of three laptops, the Weights and Measures office can record information on everything from gasoline pumps to grocery items to coin-counting machines commonly found in supermarkets. The WINWAM system keeps a record of all measurements, making it easy to identify problem devices or search a business' inspection history.
In addition, the system has a log of all devices required to be registered by the State of New Jersey and can alert the Weights and Measures office when an inspection is due. In the event that a device is malfunctioning or a product isn't labeled correctly, the WINWAM system can immediately find the problem and allow the County to order it corrected.
"Both consumers and businesses will benefit from the speed of the computerized system because problems and inaccuracies can be fixed right away. The consumer could end up saving money, and businesses won't face accumulating fines," Hughes said.
Fines collected by the Weights and Measures office will pay for the WINWAM system. The County checks more than 4,000 devices each year in addition to other inspections such as food packaging.