FDA Requirements for Vending Machines: What You Need to Know

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FDA regulations on vending machines aren’t too difficult, but you need to ensure your company is abiding by the law!

Whether you’ve had your vending machine business for a long time, or you’re just starting out, there are some FDA requirements on vending machines that you should know about.

The Food and Drug Administration, to tackle the obesity epidemic, has created food labeling requirements for all foods sold from vending machines.

Because Americans eat about one-third of their calories away from home, the FDA has created these calorie labeling requirements for vending food items. Food labeling has become more popular in all venues, from restaurants putting calorie counts on their menus to companies redesigning their cans and box packaging to more prominently display nutrition information.

Vending machine labeling requirements mean that vending machine operators who own or operate 20 or more vending machines, have the duty to disclose calorie information for the food sold from those vending machines, subject to certain exemptions. The compliance date for these changes went into effect on December 1, 2016.

Most packaged food items have calories posted on the back, but for vending machines with glass fronts, the calorie declaration that is now often part of package design on the front of packaged food is acceptable, rather than having to post signage on the actual machine. If the foods you stock do NOT have calorie information on the front of the package, then you must adhere to the following policies:

Calorie declarations must be clear and conspicuous and placed prominently and may be placed on a sign in, on, or adjacent to the vending machine, so long as the sign is in close proximity to the article of food or selection button.

Calorie declarations for total calories present in the packaged food are not informative for gum, mints, and roll candy because consumers typically do not consume the entire packaged product at one time. In order to consider this issue further, FDA is extending the compliance date to July 26, 2018, for gums, mints, and roll candy sold from glass- front machines in packages that are too small to bear FOP labeling. In the interim, FDA encourages vending machine operators to provide calorie information for such products through a sign in close proximity to the gums, mints, and roll candy inside the vending machine.

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FDA website: https://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/LabelingNutrition/ucm515022.htm