Vending Machine Labeling Requirements: 2019 Final Rule on Front of Package Type Size

Vending machine operators may choose to rely on front-of-pack labeling to disclose calories on food items that consumers can see in glass-front vending machines. On October 25, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published the final rule, Food Labeling: Calorie Labeling of Articles of Food Sold from Certain Vending Machines, to reduce the regulatory burden on industry while ensuring that consumers continue to have visible front-of-package calorie information as they purchase an item. CLICK HERE for a copy of the final rule. FDA previously required that the type size for calorie information be at least 50 percent of the size of the largest printed item on the label. Now, the front-of-package calorie declaration must be at least 150 percent the minimum required size of the net weight declaration on the package of the food item. You may recall that in 2017 IBWA was successful in getting FDA to allow bottled water companies to use abbreviated Nutrition Facts Panel information if they have a zero-calorie declaration on the product label. This exemption applied only to those companies and brands that were part of IBWA’s original petition.  For front-of-package calorie declarations on food products sold in glass-front vending machines, FDA extended the compliance date to July 26, 2018. However, in July 2018, FDA proposed to amend the front-of-pack calorie labeling requirements for foods sold in glass front vending machines and proposed a compliance date of January 1, 2020. Pending completion of this rulemaking, FDA intends to exercise enforcement discretion to provide sufficient time for the packaged food industry to revise their labels consistent with any new requirements. CLICK HERE for additional information on the final rule on front of package type size. Background Information on Vending Machine Final Rule Food Labeling: Calorie Labeling of Articles of Food in Vending Machines (published December 2014) – Requires operators who own or operate 20 or more vending machines, or who own or operate fewer than 20 vending machines and voluntarily register to be covered by the rule, to disclose calorie information for food sold from vending machines, subject to certain exemptions.  If you have any questions, please contact IBWA Director of Science and Research Al Lear: alear@bottledwater.org.

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