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Vending More Nutritious Food Options in Suffolk

Legislature approves bill giving consumers more food options at County Parks and buildings.

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Hauppauge, NY - July 31, 2014 - The Suffolk County Legislature this week adopted a bill that will provide consumers with additional, healthier food options at County parks and buildings.  The bill sponsored by Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket) requires that all future contracts executed by the County with food vendors include provisions that will make healthier and fresher menu items available to interested consumers.
“Too often, when someone goes to one of our parks, or buys a snack from a vending machine in a county building, the only options are high in sugar, high in fat and low in nutritional value,” said Legislator Hahn.  “Going forward, if you decide to buy food at a Suffolk County facility you will have the option of choosing something that not only tastes good, but is also good for you.  However, if your craving is for an ice cream instead of a refreshing fruit salad, you will still have that choice.” 
In drafting this policy, Legislator Hahn consulted with nutritionists, dietitians and concessioners for guidance on specific guidelines that would benefit both public health and the business needs of restaurant owners.   
Iman Marghoob, a registered dietitian with Stony Brook University’s Department of Family Medicine who worked with Legislator Hahn on the bill’s standards said, “It's very encouraging to know that our leaders, business owners and nutritionists can work together to support the public towards a healthier lifestyle.”
The measure now goes to County Executive Bellone for his signature within the next 30 days.
Several of the new guidelines included in the resolution deal with advertising and product promotion.  Changes include adding caloric information for each item offered, advertising healthy choices on the outside and stocking water in the highest selling slots within vending machines.
The proposal does not apply to food that is served by wait staff or at certain Suffolk County facilities, including the community college campuses and the jails.
“I proposed this bill to give consumers more options, better options then had previously been available to them,” Legislator Hahn explained.  “Now, all those who are looking for something beyond a bag of chips or a cheeseburger with a side of greasy fries will have that choice.”
For a full listing of new contract requirements please refer to the following pages.