Prince George’s Council Unanimously Passes Healthy Vending Machines Bill

The Prince George’s County Council unanimously passed a bill, sponsored by vice-chair Dannielle Glaros, that sets certain health related requirements on food and drink offerings within vending machines on county government property.

The Washington Post reports:

If signed by County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D), the measure would take effect 45 days later.

Prince George’s would be the fourth jurisdiction in Maryland to adopt measures mandating contracted companies to stock vending machines on government property with packaged food and drink choices that are low in fat, sodium and sugar.

Baltimore City, Howard and Montgomery counties have all implemented healthy vending policies in the last two years. The Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission adopted a separate but similar policy in April for all the recreational and park facilities in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties.

The Prince George’s law requires that at least half the offerings in any vending machine meet healthy nutritional standards. Granola bars, trail mix and baked chips must be less than 200 calories per package and meet the federal “low-sodium” definition. Water, milk and juice must contain fewer than 40 calories per serving and real fruits or vegetables.

All of those products should cost as much or less than junk food, soda and candy that are sold from the machines, and must be arranged within the machine in places with the highest selling potential.

The article notes that the bill awaits the signature of County Executive Rushern Baker who has not formally taken a position on the measure. If signed the bill would go into effect after 45 days.

Read The Washington Post to learn more.