National Automatic Merchandising Association Provides Vending Operators Guidance To Comment On Calorie Disclosure Rule

The National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA) is asking vending operators to comment on the federal government's mandatory calorie disclosure law and has provided comments that operators can use to send to the U.S. Food And Drug Administration (FDA).

In March 2010, Congress passed healthcare reform legislation. Under this new law, those who own or operate 20 or more vending machines must disclose the calories of all food and beverages sold in vending machines.

The Food and Drug Administration has proposed rules on how vending machine operators will have to label or post that calorie information, and they are inviting the public to comment on their draft rules.

Automatic Merchandiser has posted the draft rules: "FDA Calorie Disclosure Proposed Rules" on its Website under the tab, AM Uncut.

Automatic Merchandiser has also posted NAMA's drafted comments, which are titled: "NAMA Calorie Disclosure Comment."

NAMA is asking vending operators to personalize their thoughts and then, using the links below, submit them to the FDA. At that site, operators can upload a document or submit brief comments in a text box.

Operators can use the link: www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=FDA-2011-F-0171-0001 to submit suggestions to the FDA. Operators can also use www.regulations.gov and search on Keyword or ID: FDA-2011-F-0171-0001. Then click on "submit comment."

Editor's Insight: A lot of vending operators have submitted comments on the calorie disclosure rule, but more operators need to take the time to make their views known if they want the rules to be manageable. Once the rules are finalized, it will be very difficult to change them.

During the recent NAMA OneShow in Chicago, an FDA official noted that the agency is very interested in hearing from vending operators. She wanted vending operators to understand that the agency wants rules that are manageable for operators.

Vending operators cannot assume that government officials understand their business.

The vending industry does not oppose calorie disclosure in principle. But many operators might find the rules very difficult to meet unless the FDA hears from them. 05-19-11 by Elliot Maras

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