Maryland Lawmaker Introduces 'Healthy' Vending Bill

Posted On: 2/12/2016

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TAGS: healthy vending bill, Maryland vending machine proposal, Maryland state property vending, healthy snack demands, Sen. Joan Carter Conway, Sugar Free Kids, school vending machines

ANNAPOLIS, MD -- Vending machines on Maryland state property would have to offer mostly "healthy" snacks, under a proposal from state Sen. Joan Carter Conway (D-Baltimore). Conway introduced a measure on Feb. 4 that would require 75% of the food and drinks in vending machines that are located on state property to meet strict standards for sugar, sodium and trans-fat content.

Sugar Free Kids, a statewide coalition of health organizations devoted to fighting childhood obesity and teenage diabetes, said it would be proposing the "Maryland Healthy Vending Act" during the 2016 state legislative session and is one of the driving forces behind Conway's legislation. | READ MORE

Vending machines in public buildings would also have to display better-for-you items in slots that have the highest selling potential and in a way that clearly distinguishes them from those that don't meet the new criteria. Machines would also have to include calorie labels and sell bottled water, if they offer drinks.

Maryland's Howard County implemented similar rules last summer. | SEE STORY

Supporters of Conway's legislation gathered in Annapolis on Feb. 4 to hand out samples of snacks, including fruit bars and applesauce, that would meet the proposed standards. They also displayed the sugar content of many popular drinks to show that some far exceed the Agriculture Department's recommended daily limit.

Washington state and Chicago, among other municipalities across the country, have implemented similar standards.

On the federal level, the USDA implemented Smart Snacks in School guidelines in 2013 that limit fat, salt and sugar in items sold in school vending machines and snack bars. The rules also require foods to contain at least 50% whole grains or have a fruit, vegetable, dairy or protein as the first ingredient. | READ MORE