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Vending machines to post calories in snacks as required by affordable care act

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- What's in your food?

The White House thinks you should know.

A provision within the Affordable Care Act will require that vending machine companies tell customers what they're getting.

The vending machines in your office will have a new look soon, as mandated by the often-debated Affordable Care Act. There's a provision buried deep within the new legislation that will require that vending machines post the number of calories packed into each item offered to customers.

The federal government hopes the new requirements will have you counting calories, while you choose your snacks.

Beginning sometime in January, the federal government will require vending companies to post nutritional information -- either alongside items in the machines or on the foods themselves.

Fox 4 News spoke with officials from several vending companies in the metro, who said it's an expense for which they haven't budgeted.

"I think it's a step in the right direction, but it's not 100 percent answer to the solution," Kodi Watson, registered dietician, said.

Watson counts calories every day -- often for other people. She works as a dietician for HyVee, and believes this could be a step toward making Americans healthier.

"People need to know what they're eating," Watson said.

"We've got an obesity epidemic in this country, and anything we can do to help turn that around could be a positive thing."

But Watson says nutritional information is only good if it's used properly.

"You have to use your head a little bit. You need to know what's in those calories," Watson said.

The Food and Drug Administration is expected to release the final guidelines for vending machines sometime in early 2014. The rules will apply to companies operating 20 machines or more.

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2 comments

  • Wayne Finn

    The calories are printed on the packaging. If you go to a vending machine to buy a bag of chips they are probably going to buy a bag of chips or candy bar because that was their original intent. It’s like at McDonalds, they have the crazy amount of calories and tremendous amount of sodium that they have in their products and people still wrap around the building at lunch time.

  • Andrea

    This can also be good news for the vending operators. With new technology such as the VendScreen – a touchscreen can easily, and inexpensively, be added to existing vending machines. This will add complete nutrition detail, as well as cashless technology, and a whole host of other benefits. VendScreen users experience excellent lift in sales, while providing their customers an innovative technology that improves the user experience as well. This can add up to new customers, new sales, and a better experience at the vending machine.