Assemblymember Mitchell's Bill to Require Healthy Foods in State Vending Machines Passes Two Policy Committees

July 22, 2011

(Sacramento) AB 727, which would require that at least 50% of the foods sold in vending machines in state buildings meet minimum nutritional and sustainability standards, passed out of the Senate Governmental Organization Committee with a 7-5 vote and the Senate Health Committee with a 6-3 vote.  The bill, authored by Assemblymember Holly Mitchell (D-Culver City) declares a preference for the availability of at least one California grown food in each concession and cafeteria in state buildings.

California is on the brink of a health culture change, said Assemblymember Mitchell.  Just as our law and institutions came to reflect a growing realization of the dangers of tobacco, it's time that we lead rather than follow in offering the state's workforce healthy food choices.

The health care cost to CalPERS for public employees and retirees is approximately $4 billion annually.  Ten percent of that cost is associated with obesity related conditions, with cardiovascular disease and diabetes totaling $400 million.  If AB 727 were implemented the state could save funds in health care costs and increased productivity.

AB 727 will promote a healthier workforce by providing more accessible and affordable healthy food options.  Studies have shown that there is a strong relationship between the physical and social environments at the workplace and the health behaviors of employees. Most people spend a majority of their waking hours at work, and the food in vending machines, cafeterias and at work functions significantly influences what employees eat throughout the day.

AB 727 will now be considered in the Senate Appropriations Committee.