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FDA Deadline Passes, No Vending Calorie-Labeling Rules Issued

Posted On: 3/25/2011

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WASHINGTON -- The March 23 deadline for the Food and Drug Administration to release rules on how the vending industry will be expected to disclose calorie counts passed without any rules being published.

An FDA official told National Automatic Merchandising Association senior vice-president of government affairs Ned Monroe: "We expect only a short delay in getting these documents out. As you know, the issue is complex. We are committed to getting it out very soon and looking forward to your comments on the proposal."

The legislation requires that an operator of 20 or more vending machines must "provide a sign in close proximity to each article of food or the selection button," that discloses the number of calories furnished by the item, if the machine does not allow patrons to read the nutrition facts panel on the products it sells, or does not otherwise provide visible nutrition information at the point of purchase.

NAMA has advocated on behalf of the industry since the calorie-disclosure law was passed early last year as part of healthcare reform legislation. The association has underscored to legislators the need for flexibility and legal protection within the rules to protect vendors from being penalized for inadvertent labeling errors. NAMA has also proposed solutions that would minimize the cost and burden to the industry. | SEE STORY

While the rules were required to be released by March 23, the one-year anniversary of the passage of federal healthcare reform, no final rules publication or enforcement will occur this year, according to Monroe.