Over the years, we've criticized the Belize Bureau of Standards many times on this newscast. But, now they have seriously stepped up their game. Two years after ground was broken, the Bureau today opened a Metrology Lab that is the envy of the entire Caribbean region. I went for the opening today to find out what makes it so singular:...

Courtney Weatherburne reporting
Most shoppers don't usually make a big fuss about checking if they are actually getting the amount of product they are paying for.

Consumers just expect that they will be getting 10 or 5 pounds of flour, the precise amount of soap powder. And the 400 grams marked on the packaging of their favorite chocolate drinks.

The Bureau of Standards is responsible for making sure this is the case through what is called legal metrology.

This type of measuring is enforced to protect consumers from being fleeced, like what happened in 2011 when our 7news team discovered that consumers were getting far less than the legally prescribed 100 or 50 pounds of butane.

But with the newly opened state of the art metrology office in Belmopan, the Bureau of Standards will be able to better carry out these duties, but more importantly, the Bureau will now be able to adjust the weights used by manufacturers and other enterprises.

David Tomlinson, Technical Officer, CROSQ
"When you are baking your bread, you take measurements, 2 cups of flour, whatever sugar right, those measurements are important to you because they guarantee the quality of your bread, now the Bureau will have the capability to help you to ensure that those measurements are accurate, so that cup is actually measuring a cup and not a cup and a quarter."

That is called industrial metrology and all that is needed is inside this polished lab.

Jose Trejo, Director, Belize Bureau of Standards
"The Metrology Laboratory is the first calibration facility of its kind in Belize and let me add, it also has the proud distinction of being the first purpose built, state of the art metrology facility within the Caribbean Community."

There are 6 laboratory units. The fine mass lab is one of the principal units. These comparators or high precision scales are the main features in this lab. They are used to measure smaller weights such as these.

Industries such as BSI or companies like CPBL can now bring their weights that they use on their scales to be adjusted in the Grand Mass Lab.

This scale for instance can measure weights up to a ton.

Liquid measuring devices such as thermometers are calibrated in the Temperature lab using this highly sophisticated platinum resistance thermometer.

Now, to maintain and preserve these delicate devices, there has to be a specific balance in temperature.

Jose Trejo, Director, Belize Bureau of Standards
"Each laboratory is then supported by its own air handling unit located on the Southern corner that lies immediately behind the main entrance, most impressive is the fresh air unit that is uniquely designed to monitor fluctuations in ambient temperature across labor while heating and cooling the laboratory to ensure stable conditions."

While all this might just seem like fancy foreign equipment, the operations at this metrology lab will impact customers, the local marketplace and trade.

H.E Malgorzata Wasilewska, EU Ambassador
"Whether we like it or not, there are standards that guide every aspect of our lives, as consumers it is very important to have technical guidelines of specification that can be used consistently to ensure that the materials, goods and services that we purchase or otherwise access of provide are fit for purpose."

"This is however, a basic element of quality insurance and ensuring customer satisfaction, for economies that rely heavily on exports for foreign exchange and for economic growth the extent at which they adhere to standards can make the difference between poverty and prosperity for citizens."

The lab was funded by the European Union at a cost of 3.2 million Belize dollars.

Channel 7