Congress

Warning: Vending Machine Snacks Have Calories

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how many calories in a goat?

Buried deep within the version of the health care bill passed by the House, a provision to require calorie counts on your drive-through board and vending machine buttons:

The provision—Section 2572—requires retail food establishments "part of a chain with 20 or more locations" to list calorie counts "on the menu board including a drive-through board," as is currently required in New York City and other localities.

A "vending machine operator shall provide a sign in close proximity to each article of food or the selection button" that includes similar data.

Like a letter writer to a bad advice column, Congress can't resist catchy yet strained acronyms. So the provision in the health care bill combines Sen. Tom Carper's LEAN Act—Labeling Education and Nutrition—with the MEAL Act—Menu Education and Labeling—sponsored by Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa).

Perhaps the Senate will build in an exception for mechanical food service on the Hill, though. After all, no one wants to read the nutrition labels on their hot dog vending machine.

More on menu labeling here.

Via Marshall Smith.