Health conscious people will soon be able to keep a count on their calorie intake as millions of food vending machines will shortly display calorie information of food items sold by them.

According to the new rules put forward by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), vending machines nationwide will require calorie information to be displayed to help customers make healthier choices. The FDA is expected to release the final rules by early 2014, and they will be implemented on around five million vending machines across the country.

The new rules will cost the vending machine industry an estimated of $25.8 million initially and $24 million per year thereafter. The FDA indicates that if just 0.02 percent of obese adults in the U.S. ate 100 calories less a week, it may save the health care system about $25 million.

The upcoming rules will apply to about 10,800 companies that operate 20 or more machines. Nearly 75 percent of these companies have only three or fewer employees and their profit margin is also significantly low.

Eric Dell, vice president for government affairs at the National Automatic Merchandising Association says that an initial investment of $2,400 and $2,200 annual costs may pinch many smaller companies.

"The money that would be spent to comply with this - there's no return on the investment," Associated Press quoted Dell as saying.

Carol Brennan, owner of Brennan Food Vending Services in Londonderry, calls the rules "outrageous" as she has only five employees servicing hundreds of vending machines. Brennan says that her company will be forced to limit the items on the vending machines as she will not want her employees to spend too much time updating the calorie counts on the machines. Brennan also fears that the regulations will not bring any benefit to the consumers.

However, with calorie facts displayed upfront, customers will have the option to make an informed decision before making a purchase.

Some vending machine companies may use electronic displays to post calorie counts while others may simply choose to paste a sticker on the machines detailing the calorie count of food items. 

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