Maryland Healthy Vending Choices Act Garners More Support

Jan. 6, 2017

Sugar Free Kids Maryland, a leading voice in Maryland’s fight against type 2 diabetes, heart disease and tooth decay, announced that 1199SEIU is joining efforts to pass the Maryland Healthy Vending Choices Act during the 2017 state legislative session. 1199SEIU – the local chapter of the nation’s largest healthcare union – is now one of six organizations leading the coalition. 

The proposed legislation would make healthier packaged snack food and drinks more widely available in vending machines on state property. If passed, 50 percent of snacks in state machines would meet nutrition standards for sugar, salt, trans fat and other measures established by the American Heart Association, and every drink machine would offer bottled water. 

1199SEIU represents more than 10,000 local healthcare workers and joins the coalition’s leadership team which includes the Horizon Foundation, the Maryland State Medical Society (MedChi), the Maryland Conference of the NAACP, the American Heart Association—Mid-Atlantic Affiliate and the Maryland Association of Student Councils. 

The legislation not only would expand healthy offerings but also increase the visibility of those options in vending machines, require calorie labels on or around the machines provide for technical assistance and monitoring of compliance. Healthier packaged snack foods and beverages would be displayed in a way that distinguishes them from other items and be placed in locations with the highest selling potential. 

“By increasing choices for packaged snack foods and beverages in vending, we are aiming to make our state a healthier place to live, work and play,” said Michaeline Fedder, government affairs director of the American Heart Association Mid-Atlantic Affiliate

The bill builds upon measures already in place in Baltimore City, Montgomery County and Prince George’s County. Howard County passed healthy vending legislation in the summer of 2015.


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