There is a lot of misinformation about CB17-2015. The opponents claim that it bans nonhealthy food options in vending machines. Executive Kittleman claims that it infringes employee free choice. As seen in previous blogs, CB17-2015 actually does not say what it’s proponents intended. Non public, employee-only vending machines are not subject to the Bill. The Bill purports to require only healthy packaged foods for youth programs; but the flawed language of the Bill actually excludes nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables from the list of healthy options.
Lost in all the discussion is not that it bans certain products from vending machine, but that the bill might implicitly ban certain types of vending machines.
The applicable provision of CB17-2015 states:
This section implies that all vending machines look like this with all the actual items for purchase are on display.
But what about a vending machine with just buttons? While healthy items can be shown on each row of buttons on this type of machine
and on this type of machine, this is not always so easy to do.
For vending machines that rotate, when is the item considered “on display”? If only half of each row are healthy, there will be times when the nonhealthy options are displayed depending upon the rotation of the items.
How are healthy items to be listed on each line of a menu on a hot beverage machine, such as this one from the current Howard County vendor?
And how do these types of vending machines comply with the requirement that each row is one-half healthy options when there is only a vertical column of buttons?
So while Councilman Ball says “If you want a Coke, you can have a Coke. If you want water, you can have water,” how are Coke machines with only vertical buttons going to meet the requirements of the horizontal display rules?
Banning certain types of vending machines seems to be one of the many unintended consequences of the poorly drafted CB17-2015.