Health Law Calls for Calorie Counts on Vending Machines

(HealthDay News) – There may be a lot more counting of calories when people buy snacks from vending machines or order food in certain restaurants under rules currently being crafted as part of the final phase of the Affordable Care Act.

Once the regulations are in place, calorie information will have to be displayed on roughly five million vending machines in many companies and in restaurants with >20 locations. The hope is that the changes will help consumers make healthier choices, the Associated Press reported.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration estimates it will cost almost $26 million the first year and $24 million a year after that, the AP reported. And companies with vending machines will have to foot the bill. Businesses will be given a year to comply with the new rules, although the vending machine industry has already asked for a two-year deadline, according to the wire service. The rules will apply to about 10,800 companies that operate ≥20 vending machines. Nearly three quarters of those companies have three or fewer employees, and their profit margin is extremely low, an industry group told the AP.

Restaurant chains with >20 locations will also have to post calorie information, under another set of rules the FDA is finalizing. Certain cities already require this, and some large fast-food operations do it voluntarily, according to the AP.

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