Vending machines, what information?

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The double-digit growth of food and beverage sales through vending machines, in Italy, responds to a logic of cost-effectiveness and availability of the ‘On the go‘, h24, g365 service. This sales channel, moreover, is also subject to strict consumer information rules. Let’s see which ones.

Vending machines, news about non-prepacked foods

Legislative Decree 231/17 requires that operators of vending machines or automated commercial premises-in relation to non-prepackaged food (e.g., hot beverages)-must provide the following information in Italian.







Food name,








ingredients list




,

allergens,

– name or company name or registered trademark and location of the company responsible for operating the facility. (1)

Every single food offered by vending machine must come with the above information. With attention among other things to the dutiful graphic evidence of allergens, as opposed to the other ingredients mentioned in the appropriate lists (which we repeat, must come referred to each individual product).

This is without prejudice to any additional mandatory indications that may be provided for the sale through vending machines of specific categories of food. (2)

The aforementioned information rules, in line with the scope of effectiveness of reg. EU 1169/11, apply to all distribution facilities wherever located, with no exceptions whatsoever.

Wherever the installation is placed – in public premises or premises open to the public, or even private premises (with the exception of domestic consumption cases only). And regardless of the mode of delivery, paid or free, information is due.

Failure to indicate allergens on individual non-prepackaged foods is punishable by a penalty of €5,000 to €40,000, ‘unless the act constitutes a crime.

Violation of other disclosure requirements-about food name, ingredient list, name or company name or registered trademark and location of the company responsible for operating the facility-is subject to an administrative penalty of €1,000 to €8,000. Identical penalty for failure to use the Italian language. (3)

Vending machines, duties of information on prepacked foods

However, the Gentiloni government-which is responsible for the albeit belated adoption of the legislative decree implementing the ‘Food Information Regulation (4)-has failed to specify consumer information duties regarding prepackaged food sold or delivered through mechanized distributors. Yet another shortcoming of the former government, moreover, is not worth restricting the rights of consumers to receive news about all foods offered to them.

Red not box – ‘The food information do not mislead, in particular: as to the characteristics of the food and, in particular, the nature, identity, properties, composition, quantity, shelf life, country of origin or place of provenance, method of manufacture or production‘ (EU reg. 1169/11, Article 7.1.a).

Therefore, the sale of prepacked food through vending machines cannot do without providing the user with all the information that the user cannot access due to physical separation from the packages. Such news must be reported by displaying copies of the labels of all products fed into the machine, either through a touchscreen or a simple notebook in plain sight. Under the responsibility of the operators who provide ‘refilling’ of the dispensers, regardless of ownership of the dispensers.

A dutiful act of responsibility, at a laughable cost moreover compared to the extraordinary economic and financial benefits offered by vending machines.

Dario Dongo

Notes

(1) See Legislative Decree. 231/17, Article 18

(2) This is the case, for example, with the indication ‘product to be consumed after boiling‘, to be placed on the front side of raw milk dispensing machines. Pursuant to Law 189/2012, Article 8, Paragraph 6. Penalty of 2,000 euros to 20,000 euros, provided for in paragraph 11 below. See also decree Min. Sal. 12.12.2012

(3) Cf. d.lgs. 231/17, Article 22

(4) This refers to Legislative Decree 231/2017, which implements in Italy Reg. EU 1169/11, incorporating it into the areas reserved for concurrent legislation and providing for related sanctions