School Vending Machines

Issue
Some local school districts offer machines in their schools for student use. Concerns over increased rates of obesity have led some to call for national bans on school vending machines and increased regulation of food products sold in public schools.

AAF Position
We oppose efforts to widely ban vending machines and their advertisements in schools. The AAF believes that school districts should decide on a case-by-case basis if vending machines and other on-campus advertising are right for them. We applaud voluntary self-regulation efforts by beverage companies to limit product selections to appropriate age groups.

Opposition
Some groups, including the Center for Science in the Public Interest, would like all products sold in vending machines to meet their nutritional standards. Others decry marketing in schools as exploitative to children.

Legislation
In the past Congress, Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, introduced S. 1074: Healthy Lifestyles and Prevention America Act (HELP America Act), which contained a provision that would have granted the secretary of agriculture authority over the sale of all food in public schools. Sen. Harkin may reintroduce this comprehensive bill.

Action
In 2006, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a partnership of health organizations and food companies, announced new beverage guidelines for products sold in schools. The industry self-regulation agreement limits beverage portion size and calorie count in schools, based on school level, and establishes guidelines for specific kinds of beverage products that may be sold.

Last updated: August 2007

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