CHICAGO, U.S. – In a press release late last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a Temporary Policy allowing flexibility around calorie disclosure for vending during COVID-19. This action follows ongoing, proactive work, including correspondence submitted by NAMA on behalf of the industry to FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, in April.
The release states that “The FDA is providing temporary flexibility for the vending machine industry and will not object if operators do not meet vending machine labeling requirements to provide calorie information for foods sold in the vending machines at this time.”
According to the Fda flexibility policy, “As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, some vending machine operators may need to change business practices. For example, some vending machine operators may need to temporarily move vending machines to different locations where essential workers are working and there may be temporary disruptions in the vended food supply chain which, in turn, affects the availability of standard vending machine items.
Some vending machine operators may experience staffing issues which affects their ability to update or revise displays. Other vending machine operators may experience difficulties in replacing stock, necessitating product substitutions using products that lack front of package calorie information.
These situations may impact a vending machine operator’s ability to declare accurate calorie information for those vending machine foods without making corresponding labeling or signage changes.
While we encourage covered vending machine operators to continue to comply with the vending machine labeling requirements, to help vending machine operators address temporary business practice changes as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency, we do not intend to object if covered vending machine operators do not meet the vending machine labeling Contains Nonbinding Recommendations 12 requirements under section 403(q)(5)(H)(viii) of the FD&C Act (21 U.S.C. 343(q)(5)(H)(viii)) and 21 CFR 101.8 during the duration of the public health emergency related to COVID-19.”