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Thanksgiving turkey weigh-in

Getting the most for your money this holiday season
Published: Nov. 13, 2019 at 5:39 AM CST
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - It’s almost the holiday season, meaning it’s that time of year when every dollar counts.

Between gift buying and grocery shopping for holiday meals, your lists are likely long and costly.

The last thing you want is to get overcharged, or even tricked into believing that turkey in your cart is bigger than what it really is.

“At times like this, especially the holiday season, it’s when we really want to take a step back and look at what we’re purchasing,” said Kaylo Otto-Missouri Department of Agriculture.

This includes getting what you paid for when it comes to your holiday bird.

There’s a good chance you never questioned whether that 15 pound turkey was actually 15 pounds.

We went along with the Missouri Department of Agriculture to see if those turkeys, big and small, are what they say they are.

“Here on the ticket it says the net weight is 48 ounces or 3 pounds,” said Kayla Otto as she looked over the tags on the frozen turkeys at a St. Louis area Schnucks store.

Otto works in the Weights, Measures and Consumer Protection Division.

She’s a program manager for the Device and Commodity Inspection Program

Her department has 20 field inspectors who regularly conduct inspections on eggs, milk, scanning devices, scales, packaging and labeling and more.

They put an extra emphasis on inspections during the holiday season.

Together with Kayla Otto, we weighed three turkeys from three different manufacturers to see how they measure up.

The Butterball turkey we put in our cart said on the tag that it weighed 3 pounds.

When Otto weighed it, it came in at 3.18 pounds.

It’s over the weight listed, but Otto says there’s a tolerance one way or the other to allow for things like packaging.

We then weighed a Honeysuckle turkey that said on the ticket it weighed 8.80 pounds.

She put it on the scale and it weighed 8.90 pounds.

We then weighed a larger Schnucks brand turkey that said it weighed 22.28 pounds.

“We are right on the money,” said Otto.

That turkey showed on the scale that it weighed 22.40 pounds.

Those turkeys all measured up, but if you’re ever in doubt you can take matters into your own hands.

“Don’t be afraid to ask the store clerk, hey can I get a weight on this package, can I use your scale,” said Otto.

Inspectors also pay close attention to eggs.

They routinely inspect them, but Otto says you’ll want to look them over closely too.

“If that means I have to sit here and look through all 12 eggs, or 18 eggs then yes,” said Otto.

You’re not just looking for cracks on top, check for cracks on the bottom too.

“Also, if there’s dirt on them, or if you see chicken feces I wouldn’t purchase them,” said Otto.

A lot of people always check the sell by date, and tend to throw eggs away that are still in the fridge beyond that date.

“However, eggs do not expire,” said Otto. “But, per FDA they must have a sell by date.”

And, how many times to you get up to the check out lane and the price at the register is not what you thought the price on the shelf said?

If you are in a hurry, you may just say it’s not worth the hassle of getting a price check.

Inspectors also do random price checks to make sure for example, those sweet potatoes you’re buying by the pound ring up correctly.

On this visit with the Missouri Department of Agriculture, it looks like consumers are getting what they paid for.

But, inspectors can’t be everywhere all the time.

“We’re not only looking out for the business to make sure they’re getting their money out of what they’re selling, but also the consumer is getting what they’re paying for,” said Otto.

If you’re out shopping and you have a complaint about any of those issues like bad eggs, or marked up turkeys, you can contact the Missouri Department of Agriculture by clicking here.

You can file a complaint online, or call the office in Jefferson City at (573) 751-4316.

Otto says they have inspectors that can go out and take a look at the issue, and even get back with you regarding their findings.

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