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Rahm Cracks Down on Chicago Vending Machines

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Rahm Cracks Down on Chicago Vending Machines

Time for Chicago's vending machines to chip up or chip out.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Wednesday he's cracking down on the caloric content of vending machines in city buildings and plans to replace them all with healthy vending by next year.

A proposed ordinance, to be introduced this week, will lay out plans for the new machines and detail guidelines on fat, sugar and calorie content starting in January 2013.

“These new vending machines will make it easier than ever before for city employees and the public to make healthy lifestyle decisions,” Emanuel said. “When city employees take their wellness into their own hands, we can reduce health care costs and also serve as a model for the residents of Chicago when it comes to making healthy choices.”

Emanuel's guidelines dictate that only 25 percent of the new machines' cold beverages can be "high calorie," or contain 25 calories or more per eight ounces. All hot drinks must not be high-calorie, and all vended drinks must be limited to 12 ounces.

According to the plan, at least 75 percent of food offerings should contain 250 calories or less and at least five items should contain 250mg or less of sodium per serving. A gluten- and nut-free option also must be provided.

Oh, and healthier foods can't be pricier than their higher-calorie counterparts. 

The announcement comes on the same day as the Chicago Public Schools board unanimously approved a new healthy snack and beverage policy which bans pop, sports drinks and energy drinks as well as whole milk during school hours.

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