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California Governor Signs 'Healthy' Vending Legislation

Posted On: 10/2/2008

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SANTA MONICA, CA -- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed legislation requiring vending machines on California state property to satisfy "healthy" nutrition standards. SB 441, introduced by Tom Torlakson (D-Antioch), requires that at least 35% of the food and at least one third of the beverages offered in these vending machines meet "accepted nutritional guidelines" by January 1, 2011.

These guidelines are the "35-10-35" specification, which calls for food items that derive no more than 35% of total calories from fat (except for nuts, seeds and whole-grain products), no more than 10% of total calories from saturated fat, and that do not contain sugar exceeding 35% of the item's total weight. The rules do not apply to fruits and vegetables.

National Automatic Merchandising Association public relations director and Balanced for Life team leader Jackie Clark said the criteria for acceptable non-beverage vending selections are the same as the association's Fit Pick 35-10-35 nutrition standard. NAMA, however, does not include beverage standards in the turnkey wellness program.

Under SB 441, acceptable beverages include water, milk, electrolyte replacement beverages that do not contain more than 42g. of added sweetener per 20-fl.oz. serving, 100% fruit juice and fruit-based drinks composed of no less than 50% fruit juice and without added sweeteners.

Operators must offer at least one third of vended beverages that conform to this guideline. Another third of the vended beverages must either meet the guideline or be flavored milk, beverages containing less than 20 calories per 12-fl.oz. serving, or beverages composed of at least 50% fruit juice; these may contain non-caloric sweeteners. The remaining third of the selections may be any beverage allowed by law.

In related news, Gov. Schwarzenegger also signed into law SB 1420, making California the first state in the nation to require its restaurant chains to post calorie information on menus and indoor menu boards.

Introduced by Senator Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima), SB 1420 requires restaurant chains with 20 or more locations to post calorie information by January 1, 2011. And beginning July 1, 2009, brochures containing either calorie content information or other nutritional information, such as grams of saturated fat, grams of carbohydrates and milligrams of sodium, must be made available at points of sale and drive-throughs for consumers.

The legislation preempts local ordinances in order to create a uniform statewide standard for displaying nutritional information and does not prevent a restaurant from providing additional information.

The governor has also removed trans fat from school meals and the use of trans fat in all California restaurants beginning in 2010, and from all baked goods by 2011.

View SB 441 by clicking here.