Vending machines to post calorie counts of snacks - KMSP-TV

Vending machines to post calorie counts of snacks

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(WJBK) -

The next time you hit the vending machine get ready to count your change and your calories. Under President Obama's healthcare law most vending machines will be required to also list the calorie content of each of its items.

The FDA believes displaying calories will help consumers make healthier choices. Approximately five million vending machines nationwide will be affected.

"I think we need education. I don't know if the vending machine is the right place to educate people how to eat properly," thinks Dr. Steven Garner of New York Methodist Hospital.

A New York study finds only one in six customers even look at listed calorie information.

"We can look at past history, and what happens at similar projects in Philadelphia showed no change, that people didn't even bother reading the stuff. So you got to get them to read it for it to be effective. And people, when they want their Snickers bar - they want it," says Garner.

The change will cost the vending machine industry millions of dollars. However, the FDA says if just two hundredths of obese adults ate one hundred fewer calories a week the savings to the health care system would be immense.

"It adds up. ... Forget a Snickers bar. What about a can of Coke every day? You get ten pounds by the end of the year," says Garner.

The proposed rules give companies one year to comply, but the vending machine industry is asking for two year. Many are not happy though, saying it will cost them a lot of money and they won't get return on the investment.

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