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Iowa Pilots Nutrition-Rating System For Vending Machines

Posted On: 3/9/2011

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Iowa health officials, vending machine rating system, healthier choices in vending machines, Iowa Department of Public Health, Iowa State University Extension, Welmark Foundation, healthy vending

DES MOINES, IA -- Iowa health officials are testing a color-coding system to help consumers identify "healthier" choices in vending machines.

The pilot, a joint project of the Iowa Department of Public Health and Iowa State University Extension, rates and labels the products in a machine based on school nutrition standards. Green is the "healthiest" choice, yellow is a "healthy" pick that should be consumed in moderation and red is considered "not so healthy."

Officials said the system is not intended to bar certain items from machines, but to help consumers make choices. The two-year pilot will reportedly start in vending machines placed in state-owned buildings and rest stops.

At the end of the test period, officials intend to institute a policy for state buildings requiring a minimum of 30% of the snacks in vending machines to meet the healthy criteria. The project is funded through a $112,550 grant from the Welmark Foundation, a nonprofit foundation that seeks to improve the health of Iowans and South Dakotans.