ALL HANDS NEWSLETTER

Pounds to Kilograms:
The “Why” and “Wherefore”

At D&D we use both pounds (lb) and kilograms (kg) to measure weight or mass. Why?

Our customers and vendors use metric, which also is universal practice for imported ingredients. Moreover, the customers of our customers use metric.

Courtesy of abcteach.com

The U.S. Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FPLA), enacted in 1992, requires most packaged consumer goods to be labeled in both metric and customary (aka standard, avoirdupois, imperial) units. This practice takes extra space on a label and currently 48 states permit labeling in only metric units. New York and Alabama are the exceptions.

In addition, the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) rules require commercial feed labels to include “a quantity or net weight statement, in both standard (avoirdupois) and metric units.”

There are many smart phone apps and online calculators to convert customary units to metric units (see below). Almost all involve some rounding factor. More precisely, 1 lb. equals 0.454 kilograms and 1 kg equals 2.2046 lb. For most applications, two or three digit precision is adequate.

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Is it true that most countries mandate use of the metric measurement system and the U.S. is one of the few exceptions?

 

“Metrication” in U.S.

Only three countries do not officially require use of the metric system at the national level — U.S., Myanmar, and Liberia. The U.S. already has official legislation to support “metrication” or conversion to the metric system or International System of Units (SI) system, but conversion is not mandatory. Nonetheless, most scientific and technical fields use SI, sometimes exclusively, because of the need to share information internationally without confusion.

We don’t know the overall cost of such confusion, but it must be significant. The U.S. Metric Association, a non-profit advocate for the metric system founded in 1916, offers several examples.

We’re seeing much more metric measure in consumer products, but fluid milk for example continues to be bottled and marketed in half-pints, pints, quarts, half-gallons, and gallons, not liters.

Aside from the ease of metric calculation using powers of 10, SI has many intrinsic relationships. For example, 1 liter of water weighs 1 kg and water boils at 100 degrees Centigrade.

Upshot for D&D

Using kilograms and metric tons (1000 kg) is vital for the company’s continuing success and growth. D&D products already are key components of animal feed or pet food products going into more than 20 other countries that use SI.

Moreover, as international trade continues to grow and we are able to source more raw materials from abroad, we must use metric measures more and more.

More “Did You Know?”

Thanks for your interest! Please let us know other topics you’d like to learn about. Email claytong@ddingredient.com

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