Vending Is Exempt From Canada's Menu-Labeling Rules That Kick In Jan. 1

Posted On: 12/21/2016

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TAGS: Canadian Automatic Merchandising Association, Ontario Menu Labeling Regulation, Canada's Healthy Menu Choices Act of 2015, vending machine calorie labels, micromarkets, micro market, office coffee service, Renee Corrigan, Dan Stewart

TORONTO -- Thanks to efforts of the Canadian Automatic Merchandising Association, vending operators are exempt from Canada's new Ontario Menu Labeling Regulation. The regulation, which is part of Canada's Healthy Menu Choices Act of 2015, goes into effect on Jan. 1.

The rule requires that, by 2017, all restaurants (including fast food joints), movie theaters, supermarkets and convenience stores with 20 or more locations in Ontario must post calorie counts for each item on their menus. It only applies to locations that serve hot food.

CAMA officials, industry experts and vending operators met with legislators as the rules were being drafted, and they were able to negotiate changes. Specifically, a number of items are now exempt from the act's labeling requirements, including "standard food items in a vending machine" and "select food items sold at grocery stores," the association reported.

"This is a major achievement and CAMA appreciates the [Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care's] acknowledgment and clarification that a vending machine location or account should be considered the same as a food truck location or account, as opposed to regulated foodservice premises," CAMA said.

Regarding office coffee service, CAMA said it is confident that in a typical scenario in which refreshments are offered on a complimentary basis, they would be exempt because "items that are not sold or offered for sale will not be captured by the legislation." In the event hot beverages and other refreshments are sold to the public, then the item would be subject to the labeling requirements."

While micromarkets are not expressly exempt from the rules, companies have the option to buy food with the proper labeling. CAMA said there are also other considerations in the legislation with respect to the number of micromarkets an operator has on location, and whether they are in public areas.

CAMA acknowledged Renee Corrigan of The Brew Centre (Brampton, ON) and Dan Stewart of Savco Food Services (Point Edward, ON) for their legislative efforts on behalf of the industry.

In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration's deadline for calorie disclosure compliance for vending machines was Dec. 1. Operators who run 20 or more vending machines must display calorie information, at the point of sale, for snacks, food, and cold and hot drinks sold through them. Machines selling bulk confections are also required to post calorie information. Operators with fewer than 20 machines are exempt from the FDA rule.