In the ongoing debates over health and obesity in relation to vending, the latest discussion has targeted what food should be available to children in school. Since 2003, laws regarding school vending have evolved from mostly nonexistant to federal discussion. In 2013, the federal government passed a law creating standards for food sold in schools. Only healthy choices are allowed in vending machines, lunch menus, and school stores.
Proponents of childhood obesity prevention cheered the new laws, citing the rising rate of obesity in children and previous effectiveness of state regulations of school vending. Kevin Concannon, undersecretary of food, nutrition, and consumer services for the USDA insists that "It will make a difference. Give us a couple of years and you will see the effects across the country of not just school meals, but of all food sold in schools."
NAMA (the National Automatic Merchandising Association) responded to the law reaffirming their commitment to healthy choices. The organization cites their "Balanced For Life" and FitPick options. FitPick is available right here in Houston from GulpIt Vending, its purpose being to provide consumers with a reliable way to ascertain whether their snack is a fit choice for their diet.
NAMA did supplement that statement with a different take on the matter, stating that the law may place undue burden on small companies, especially those who rely on schools for a majority of its income, because not every aspect of the law is necessary to curb childhood obesity. NAMA suggested ways to make the law more effective.
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