Following the passage of legislation four years ago, Howard County Executive Calvin Ball announced that the county will be fully implementing the law this fall, ensuring at least 75 percent snacks and drinks in vending machines on county property meet health standards. The county is soliciting bids for healthy vending machines through Aug. 14 and the contract will be awarded Sept. 13.
The Horizon Foundation and dozens of partners advocated for this legislation, and seven Maryland jurisdictions now have healthy vending policies: Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Charles County, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County and the Maryland-National Capital Parks and Planning Commission.
“Four years ago, County Executive Ball blazed the trail for healthy vending legislation in Maryland as a councilmember. Now, Howard County joins six other Maryland jurisdictions in ensuring the healthy choice is the easy choice in our community vending machines,” said Horizon Foundation President and CEO Nikki Highsmith Vernick. “This is a big win for public health, and we look forward to seeing the changes.”
The Baltimore Sun editorial board recognized the move as the culmination of efforts that often faced opposition. The editorial asks: “So remind us, Howard County, why was providing access to healthy food in vending machines ever controversial?”