What do bingo halls, grocery stores, gas stations, garden centers and frozen dessert shops have in common? Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) staff work with each establishment to ensure they follow appropriate regulations intended to protect consumers.
“On any given day, there’s a good chance you will receive products or services from an establishment that VDACS touches,” said VDACS Commissioner Sandy Adams. “We may not be the most visible agency in Virginia, but our dedicated staff are prominent defenders of consumer safety and value.”
In observance of National Consumer Protection Week March 5-11, below are the many ways VDACS looks out for Virginia’s consumers:
Protecting the Food You Eat
- Food safety inspectors ensure that food and dietary supplements in Virginia are safe, nutritious and properly labeled. Food establishments that manufacture, process, pack or hold food for sale such as convenience stores, grocery stores, frozen dessert shops and seafood markets receive regular periodic inspections in accordance with Virginia food laws and related regulations.
- Meat and poultry inspectors ensure the production of safe, healthy and truthfully labeled meat and poultry products, and verify that livestock is processed in a humane manner.
- Dairy inspectors assess farms to ensure the safety and wholesomeness of milk and dairy products per the Virginia Dairy Laws and related regulations.
Ensuring Safety and Value in the Products You Buy
- Weights and measures inspectors maintain the integrity of transactions between buyers and sellers and prevent unfair competition among regulated industries by testing all commercially used weighing and measuring equipment and investigating consumer complaints. The inspectors use highly accurate field standards and equipment to test commercial scales, meters and scanning equipment and check the weight of packaged products. Inspectors are also responsible for testing the accuracy of fuel pumps and sampling of motor fuels.
- The Office of Pesticide Services registers more than 14,000 pesticide products in Virginia each year, licenses pesticide businesses and certifies pesticide applicators to provide safe and effective control of pests that may attack our crops, structures and health.
- The Milk Commission licenses all processors and distributors of fluid milk products in Virginia to ensure everyone has a constant, available and reasonably priced supply of milk.
- The Office of Plant Industry Services inspects more than 8,500 acres of nursery stock to prevent the spread of insect, weed and disease pests. More than 2,000 nurseries and nursery stock dealers are registered to operate within Virginia.
Safeguarding the Services You Receive
- VDACS staff advise consumers and act as a resource for alternate dispute resolution regarding businesses that offer extended service contracts, credit services, health club contracts, campground memberships, prepaid legal services plan sellers and travel club contracts. These businesses must adhere to Virginia law.
- The Office of Charitable and Regulatory Programs is responsible for issuing or renewing approximately 350 charitable gaming permits per year to organizations, as well as the regulation of charitable gaming activities in the Commonwealth. They also perform on-site training and operational inspections of bingo events and initiate compliance audits of organizations that conduct charitable gaming.
- Organizations that solicit contributions in Virginia or have funds solicited on their behalf, must register with VDACS prior to any solicitation. The agency investigates consumer complaints and maintains a public database of registered charitable organizations.
Consumers can visit www.vdacs.virginia.gov and click on the “consumers” button to learn more about how VDACS protects consumers or to report a problem with a product or service.