An Up Close Look at FDA’s Calorie Disclosure Rule
The FDA Calorie Disclosure Rule for vending machines is directed by Congress and stems from the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that was approved by President Barack Obama on March 23, 2010. The section 4205 amendment of the ACA was implemented to “help make calorie information for vending machine foods available to prospective purchasers in a direct, accessible, and consistent manner to enable them to make informed and healthful dietary choices,” according to the Federal Register.
It is important to note, the Rule applies to vending operators, rather than the food manufacturers and it applies to vending only, not micro markets or OCS. This rule requires that vending machine operators who own or operate 20+ machines, or who voluntarily elect to be covered, comply with the guidelines as defined in the FDA Calorie Disclosure Rule.
The FDA’s Final Rule, issued in December of 2014, will go into effect on December 1st this year. The rule requires that operators provide the calorie content of food products in one of several locations:
- On a sign in, on or adjacent to the vending machine so long as the sign is easily read and in close proximity to the article of food or its selection button
- On the front of the product label- the font must be in a type size at least 50 percent of the size of the largest printed matter
- On the product’s Nutrition Facts panel, if it is visible while the product is inside the vending machine- provided the calories displayed represent the total calories per package item
- On a digital display, if the vending machine has one
eVending’s snack and refrigerated / frozen vending machines are equipped with two line digital displays. Using a machine planogram approach, the products’ nutritional information is entered into a text file along with the selection number and product name. The product name (up to 20 characters) as well as calorie and fat calorie information (up to four digits each) can be included in the text file. The information can be programmed into the machines through a two-step process.
- Create a text file with the information in DEX format
- Upload the DEX text file to the machine’s control board by attaching a laptop to the vending machine with a GVC control board cable.
This feature will ease the transition in complying with the FDA’s new rules and regulations by providing you with a tool that can display the calorie content of the products in your machine.
In addition to the above described rules, the vending operator must disclose their telephone number and mailing address or email address by posting it on the vending machine. The information can be placed on the face of the machine or with the calorie declarations in, on, or adjacent to the machine.
The Final Rule will be enforced by the FDA starting December 1, 2016. The FDA can enforce the rules through its regulatory enforcement process. Failure to comply with the rule will render the covered vending machine food misbranded under the Food, Drug & Cosmetic Act (FD&C). Learn more about the FDA Calorie Disclosure Rule by visiting NAMA’s FDA Calorie Disclosure Online Resource Center.