State officers learn about Energy Star, electrical safety and other issues
The Florida sun offered an upbeat setting for the state council officers meeting that preceded the National Automatic Merchandising Association National Expo in Orlando, Fla. An exceptionally large turnout of state officers also made for an enthusiastic gathering at the Peabody Hotel on the first day of the convention. The state officers meeting is an annual event where officers review a host of issues.
Following introductory remarks from Brian Allen, NAMA government affairs director and counsel, and Rich Geerdes, NAMA president and CEO, the meeting got down to business with an overview of regulatory issues.
This year, Larry Eils, NAMA senior director of technical services, tweaked his customary "Dr. Doom" hat with some creative head pieces, including one that looked like a big hot dog.
Eils noted that the Energy Star label for refrigerated vending machines is now available with more efficient components. Energy Star certification is available for both new and rebuilt machines. On July 1, 2007, when stricter Energy Star requirements take effect, Energy Star rebuilt machines will potentially be 50 percent more efficient than conventional machines.
Machines must have ground fault circuit interrupters
Eils then addressed new electrical requirements for machines, noting that the 2005 National Electrical Code says vending machines made after Jan. 1, 2005 must include a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) as a part of the power supply cord. Machines not incorporating GFCI protection must be connected to a GFCI protected outlet.
Eils related a 1995 incident in which a 10-year-old boy was electrocuted after reaching for a quarter that had fallen under a vending machine. Investigators concluded the power cord had been frayed, exposing the wires, and when the metal foot rested on the wires, it allowed the cabinet to be live due to the ground fault.
Eils said the GFCI requirement is not effective in any municipality until it adopts the 2005 National Electrical Code.
He added that new vending machines with GFCI protected cords will not be available until early 2007.
Eils noted that GFCI can be a selling tool for operators.
Turning his attention to foodborne illness, Eils said operators with commissaries must include information about allergens on the labels under a new FDA requirement. As of Jan. 1, 2006, all food labels must state if the products contain any ingredients that have protein derived from the eight major allergenic foods: milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat or soy beans.
The first option is to include the name of the food source in parenthesis following the common or usual name of the major food allergen. The second option is to place the words, "contains," followed by the name of the food source from which the major food allergen is derived, immediately after or adjacent to the list of ingredients.
Eils also noted that NAMA has produced a booklet titled, "How to handle a foodborne illness call" which explains how to determine if an illness was caused by a product bought in a machine. This booklet is available at the NAMA Website in the "members only" section.
Eils then encouraged the attendees to develop public health committees. He said a volunteer in the Texas vending association recently exhibited at a local health convention. He said public health activities provide state associations extra value to their members.
Dean Gilland, NAMA vice president of membership and coffee service, addressed ways to build state council membership and revenue. While the meeting itself was one of the best attended state officer meetings ever, Gilland noted that overall, state council membership is falling faster than NAMA membership. Membership is suffering largely on account of mergers.
Keynote speaker John Walsh talked about the fact that society is changing in ways that challenge industry trade groups. People 20 to 35 years of age who have been nurtured on the Internet are not inclined to belong to trade groups.