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Issue Date: Vol. 53, No. 3, March 2013, Posted On: 2/14/2013

Seattle Bill Pushes For Healthier Vending Fare In City Buildings

Emily Jed
TAGS: vending machine regulation, Seattle vending restrictions, healthy vending initiative, Richard Conlin, health vending bill, Seattle City Council, Mike McGinn, King County Board of Health, healthy vending snack, low-fat Cheez-Its, baked potato chips, granola bars, dried fruit

SEATTLE -- City councilmember Richard Conlin has introduced a bill that proposes to stock half of every vending machine in city-run buildings with "healthier foods."

The Seattle City Council and Mayor Mike McGinn are following the lead of Washington's King County Board of Health, which issued voluntary guidelines that encourage organizations in Seattle and the surrounding region to provide healthier choices in vending machines. | SEE STORY

Conlin pointed to the Parks and Recreation Department's success in requiring community centers and park facility to stock only "healthy choices" in vending machines. Those rules were introduced in 2009. Revenues reportedly dropped initially, but have returned to their previous levels, according to park officials. Snack selections include low-fat Cheez-Its, baked potato chips, granola bars and dried fruit and drink machines are merchandised with diet soda, nonfat and 1% milk, water and 100% fruit juice.

The city guidelines, if adopted, would mandate that half of all vending machine foods meet the criteria for the "healthiest" or "healthier" categories as defined by the King County Healthy Vending Guidelines. Healthiest includes baby carrots, fresh broccoli, dried fruit, whole grain crackers, rice cakes and pita. Healthier includes baked chips, fruit in light syrup and low-sodium nuts. The remaining half could consist of regular chips, candy, pastries and sweetened drinks including tea, coffee, fruit drinks and sodas.

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