FDA Says it Will Take Vending Machine Owners an Extra 14 Million Hours a Year to Comply with Obamacare Calorie Mandate
Monday, November 08, 2010
By Dan Joseph
(CNSNews.com) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration estimates that it will take the food service industry 14 million additional hours each year to comply with a new regulation that mandates chain restaurants and vending machine operators label the products they sell with a calorie count in a place visible to the consumer.
Most of the burden of the regulation, which is buried in President Obama’s 2,000 page health-care reform bill, will fall on the vending industry.
In the Nov. 5 edition of the Federal Register, the FDA estimates “a total of 14,068,808 recurring hours, with nearly all of these for vending machine operators, including 31,408 recurring hours for recordkeeping and 14,037,400 recurring hours for third party disclosure” in conjunction with the regulation.
The recordkeeping element includes recording and keeping track of the calorie content of each item offered in a vending machine, while the vast majority of the time will be spent on third party disclosure — actually communicating that content to the consumer.
The FDA says that time will have to be invested again each year, as the labels will likely “have a relatively short life and the mix of product in a machine will change over time.”
Ned Monroe, the senior vice president of government affairs for the National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA), called the required time investment “absurd” and “unfair.”
“Our industry has always understood that consumers need access to product nutritional information, but requiring an industry to invest 14 million hours annually is absurd and sure to kill jobs,” he said. “We are opposed to the colossal burden these regulations impose on our industry and this report just confirms what an enormous and unfair burden it truly is.”
As CNSNews.com previously reported, Section 4205 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) says companies with 20 or more restaurants or vending machines must disclose nutrition content for standard menu items, and that for vending machines in particular, the company “shall provide a sign in close proximity to each article of food or the selection button that includes a clear and conspicuous statement disclosing the number of calories contained in the article.”