NAMA is working to try and test vending machines that will vend Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) foods in machines which will accept Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards to help those with public assistance benefits. It is our hope that as convenient retailers, we can assist in solving the problem of food deserts and help reduce obesity.
But our industry is a retailer which provides shelf space to customers just like convenience stores, grocery stores and restaurants.
Our products have the required nutritional facts panel, and most consumers don?t purchase a particular brand of snack or beverage for the first time via a vending machine. They already have access to, and understand the nutritional information of our products, prior to purchase.
Solutions to Calorie Disclosure in Vending:
NAMA offers the following comments to the FDA regarding potential rules regarding Section 4205:
1. The FDA must allow maximum flexibility in how disclosure can take place, such as allowing one menu with calorie counts for an entire bank of machines,
2. The FDA must permit options for posting calorie information that allows multiple products to be placed in the same vending coils or stacks,
3. The FDA must allow vending operators to have the same technical allowances as chain restaurants,
4. The FDA must provide legal protection for minor and inadvertent mistakes in calorie disclosure,
5. The FDA must provide sufficient time to implement any new regulations, and
6. The FDA must take into consideration and reduce the economic impact of all such rules.
1. The FDA must allow flexibility in how disclosure can take place, such as one menu with calorie counts for an entire bank of machines. According to the Vending Times there are more than 5.3 million food and beverage vending machines in use today in the United States. Others in the industry believe there are at least 7.4 million machines in use. These machines have a life span of approximately 10-15 years, but many are in service for much greater than that time. It is not uncommon for refurbished vending machines to remain serviceable for 20 years.
These 5.3 million or more machines come in a variety of configurations. For example, not including water and ice vending machines, NAMA currently has almost 300 different models of food and beverage vending machines which comply with the NAMA "Standard for the Sanitary Design and Construction of Food and Beverage Vending Machines." This is a voluntary standard governing the sanitary design and construction of food and beverage vending machines and related dispensing equipment and incorporates the requirements of the FDA Model Food Code.