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New FDA regulation requiring calorie information on vending machines has food services crying foul

Millions of vending machines around the country will be required to show calorie information on their machines beginning in early 2014.
Syracuse (WSYR-TV) - Millions of vending machines around the country will be required to show calorie information on their machines beginning in early 2014.

The Food and Drug Administration says the new requirement will help consumers make healthier choices, but vending machine companies aren’t happy with the change.

Koffee King Food Services says they like healthy choices, but they don’t like the FDA telling them what to do.

"Once again the government slowed down the economy, increased my cost, because they got involved and didn't let me police it myself," said Joseph Bolognone, President of Koffee King Food Services.

Bolognone says the new requirement from the FDA will be costly. To make a vending machine meet the standards, Bolognone says he’s going to have to replace the entire board with touch screen technology. He says it’s going to run him about $800 per vending machine.

With 450 vending machines out in the field, Bolognone’s cost could be near $360,000.

"It’s going to slow down what I can pay my people and hire people," Bolognone said. "It’s going to hurt people and they’re selling it like it’s going to help people."

The FDA says the changes will cost the vending industry over $20 million per year, but dieticians say the consumer’s health is worth the price.

“It can be very deceiving when you look at a vending machine. Things you think would be lower like an apple pie with apples in it may be 500 calories, whereas something the baked Lays have 120,” explained registered dietician Kelly Springer. “With that calories right there in there face, they might make a better decision just because it’s right in front of them."

The new FDA regulation will apply to more than 10,000 vending machine companies that operate 20 or more machines.

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