Obamacare’s vending machine police

We told you here almost 14 months ago about a provision concerning  vending machines that was contained within one of the earlier incarnations of Obamacare. Yes, vending machines are hazardous to your health.  But, fortunately for you, this provision of the original Kennedy-Dodd health care bill made it into the final version.

Here’s what we said then:

…in the case of food sold from a vending machine that…is operated by a person who [owns or operates] 20 or more vending machines, the vending machine operator shall provide a sign in close proximity to each article of food…that includes a clear and conspicuous statement disclosing the number of calories in the article.

You can find this section of the proposed legislation beginning at page 404, line 4.  So, I’m wondering, with all these clear and conspicuous signs on the outside glass of vending machines, will we even be able to see what’s inside?

We will soon have an answer to that question.

Yesterday, the FDA issued its “Guidance for Industry…Regarding…Vending Machine Labeling Laws”.

The proposed guidelines are preliminary and could change as a result of information received during a 45-day public comment period. The FDA won’t begin enforcing the labeling requirement until the rules are completed some time after the comment period.

As best as I can tell, here is where we stand.  The FDA doesn’t have the manpower to police the safety of food items already within it’s jurisdiction (see: last year’s tomato scare and this year’s egg recall), but, under Obamacare, it will now also have to expend its manpower policing calorie labels on vending machines.

This is a government run amok.  The motto seems to be “if it’s moving regulate it, and if it isn’t moving regulate it, just incase it does decide to move”.

18 replies
  1. TomL
    TomL says:

    SOS not only tomato's and eggs, they just had a huge sandwich meat recall and last year millions of pounds of ground beef. Yep were going to police labels on vending machines so you can watch your calories but we won't worry about bacteria in the food supply. Why is it you have to own 20 machines if your going to protect me from myself please label every machine so I can ignore all the warnings.

  2. scottm
    scottm says:

    At least they have the well-being of the citizens in mind, Reagan tried to get ketchup re-classified as a vegetable for school lunch programs to save money so he could throw it away on the star wars program.

    • Dimsdale
      Dimsdale says:

      You are right: ketchup should have been classified as a fruit!  😉  Given the recent development of long range attack missiles in North Korea and Iran, I would be willing to trade ketchup as a vegetable (or a fruit) in exchange for some increased security.


      As for the well being of the citizens, I have yet to see anyone in line at Wendy's, BK, Mickey D's or KFC studying the prominent signs with all the nutrient information (nightmarish as it is).  The odor of fries wafting over the counter is sufficient to drive a Pavlovian response that precludes worrying about calories and fat.  It should be a reasonable assumption that a bag of Twinkies or Doritos are not going to be too good for you.  Or course, I used to think it was a reasonable assumption that people not stick parts of their bodies under the shroud of running lawn mowers or snow blowers, but the signs are there, warning us not to do so.  Or warning us that the world is full of idiots.



      • scottm
        scottm says:

        I know ketchup is a fruit, the Reagan administration didn't.  My wife lost 40 lbs by reading the nutritional information and paying attention to the amount of calories she was eating.  Childhood obesity is an epidemic, at least the parents should be paying attention to the nutritional information available.

      • Dimsdale
        Dimsdale says:

        Would it have been okay if Reagan designated it as a fruit instead of a vegetable?


        Do you seriously think the kids are going to read these labels?  Or even the adults?  Sure, some do.  I do.  Your wife does.  But if you are serious about your diet, you aren't anywhere close enough to a vending machine to read the prices, much less the nutritional info.


        The childhood obesity epidemic is both food and activity based.  Taking a vehicle instead of walking or biking, sitting in front of your new, giant flatscreen TV eating crap instead of playing ball, etc.


        Maybe a little training in moderation techniques would help.

  3. winnie888
    winnie888 says:

    SOS, your post reminded me of a classic Simpson's episode…The clip (2:16 of pure hilarity) below:
    Speaking as a woman with monthly, um…cravings, I have to say that even though nutritional info is available I typically don't read it because I want the cookie, or the ice cream, or the pickle.  Sometimes, even all three.

    This administration may be able to control school lunches, labeling of vending machines and health care, but they cannot control free will.

  4. Tim-in-Alabama
    Tim-in-Alabama says:

    People will end up driving the bus into the ditch trying to read all these snack labels, just like the other failed policies of the Obama-Biden-Reid-Pelosi-Soros-msnbc-DailyKos-HuffingtonPost-DailyShow-droneattacks-violationofconstitution regime.

    • GdavidH
      GdavidH says:

      That about sums it up.

       Will the Republicans get want the keys back when the vehicle is wrecked in the ditch???

    • winnie888
      winnie888 says:

      Oh, Tim…you do know how to turn a phrase, don't you?  Quite a mouthful, though…just like double-pack of Twinkies!  Yay for junk food!

    • Dimsdale
      Dimsdale says:

      You have a good point, Tim!  Maybe if our "representatives" spent more reading what they are paid to read instead of telling us what to read, we wouldn't be headed off the bridge in a classic bus plunge.

  5. Fish
    Fish says:

    Nancy Pelosi said we had  to pass the health care bill to see what was in it. Does it not follow then that we would have to by a Snickers bar to see what is in it?

  6. pauldow
    pauldow says:

    When we purchase food, we are essentially exchanging money for calories. Recently I went into a Taco Bell that had the calorie numbers beside the menu items. I ended up choosing the highest calorie items because I wanted to get the best value for my money.

Comments are closed.