Vending machines required to provide nutritional information

Before you buy that candy bar out of a vending machine, you now can see how healthy it is.      

 It’s all part of new labeling guidelines outlined in the Affordable Care Act.

The Food and Drug Administration now requires vending machine companies to provide calorie counts of their snacks. The new regulations will affect more than 5 million machines across the nation.

 Health officials hope the labeling requirements will help consumers make healthier choices, when they reach for a snack.

“That nutrition is on the packaging, it’s been there for years,” said Valerie Pampuch, a registered dietician at Gundersen Health System.  “However, sometimes it’s easier to make a choice if you don’t see those calories. [But] we are putting it right in front, so people have to look at it, and hopefully people will make a healthier choice.”

The FDA estimates it will cost the vending machine industry more than $25 million dollars to initially make the change, and about  $24 million per following year.