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Last modified: December 5, 2023

Policy 3401 P1 Wellness: Vending Machine Guidelines

“There is evidence that unhealthy food choices, such as soft drinks, may be a contributor to the obesity epidemic in children. Schools can take on a proactive role in forging healthy food behaviors through the options that are available in school vending machines.”

Dr. Reginald Washington


Co-chair, Task Force on Obesity for the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Principals may not sign vending machine contracts that last longer than one year. These contracts must be in writing in a form approved by the School Board and must be individually approved by the Business Administrator. Vending machine income will be used for specific educational purposes. Vending machine income and expenditures will be reported to the School District Business Department.

Vending machines will not be made available to students in elementary schools.

Vending machines will not contain competitive foods that do not meet the minimum requirements and standards established by the Nutrition Standards for All Foods Sold in School Final Rule (7 CFR 210.11), also known as Smart Snacks in School.

Product pricing may not discourage the purchase of nutritious foods. Nutritious foods shall be priced the same or less than comparable less nutritious foods.

The most nutritious foods shall be placed in the more prominent positions in vending machines, as machine capabilities permit. Less nutritious foods shall be less visible.

Standards and nutrition guidelines for all foods and beverages sold to students during the school day (7 CFR 210.30) on each school campus allow marketing on the school campus during the school day of only those foods and beverages that meet the nutrition standards under (7 CFR 210.11). Marketing should reflect the Smart Snacks in School standards. In accordance with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration (Food Labeling; Calorie Labeling of Articles of Food in Vending Machines) published final rule, as of July 26, 2018, vending machine operators shall provide consumers with clear and consistent nutrition information, allowing them to make informed and healthy dietary choices when purchasing items from vending machines. Vending machine operators shall disclose caloric information for foods and beverages sold from their machines. This FDA regulation requires that caloric declarations be clear, visible, and prominently placed on a sign (e.g., small placard, sticker, or poster) near the food item or selection button. Please reference FDA final rule for additional 2 | Page 3401 P1 Wellness: Vending Machine Guidelines details.

FDA defines a covered vending machine operator as a person or entity that controls or directs the function of the vending machine, including deciding which articles of food are sold from the vending machine or the placement of the articles of food within the vending machine, and is compensated for the control or direction of the function of the vending machine. The Principal/LEA is responsible to ensure that all articles of food sold from vending machines in their schools meet the minimum standard and are Smart Snacks in School compliant. Secondary schools shall educate students on health risks associated with carbonated beverages, specifically, the detrimental effects of high dissolved sugar content, carbonation, artificial sweeteners, and caffeine.

Competitive Foods that often do not fit the Smart Snacks in School Standard

Common items that often do not fit the standard are: 

  • carbonated and/or flavored beverages;
  • chewing gum;
  • water ices and/or popsicles; and 
  • certain candies (e.g., candy coated popcorn, fondant, hard candy, jellies and gums, licorice, marshmallow candies, spun candy, etc.)

Please reference Alliance for a Healthier Generation and take the guesswork out of nutrition guidelines with the Alliance Product Calculator for Smart Snacks.


September 10, 2013

Revised: July 2016


June 10, 2014

August 11, 2015

August 9, 2016

Policy and Procedures

Policy No. 3401 Wellness

Policy 3401 P2 Wellness: Physical Activity Guidelines

Policy 3401 P3 Wellness: Air Quality and Outdoor Activities

Policy 3401 P4 Wellness: Recess and Inclement Weather