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Vending Machine Customers React To New Rules

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

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DENVER (CBS4) – Within a year President Barack Obama’s health care plan will require calorie information be displayed on vending machines to help people make healthier choices.

CBS4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh asked people in search of snacks what they think of the new labeling. Most say that seeing the calories won’t change their snack choices or show up on the scale.

The vending machine industry stands to lose about $25 million a year.

Ken Thompson was in search of Skittles. He doesn’t care at all about the candy’s nutritional content.

“Because it’s Skittles, they are what they are,” Thompson said. “Seems like a complete waste of time.”

“It’s something that sounds good on paper,” Casey Schmidt said.

Schmidt owns and operates a healthy vending company. The products are lower in calories and his machines display nutrition facts. Even though he’s all for healthier eating, he’s not convinced calorie counts are the answer.

With less than 20 vending machines, Schmidt is exempt from the new labeling rules. He sees a business nightmare for companies that must comply.

“All this paperwork and manual tracking, it’s just going to make it a lot harder,” he said.

Jackie Paslay was after a Dr. Pepper pick-me-up.

“Being informed is never a bad thing,” Paslay said.

While the Food and Drug Administration estimates it will cost the vending machine industry, it says the savings to the health care system could be at least that great. That’s if just .02 percent of obese adults ate 100 fewer calories a week.

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