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LITTLE VALLEY – With the current contract for vending machines set to expire at the Cattaraugus County Olean facility and the Pines nursing home facilities, lawmakers and members of the county public works committee are looking for a healthier selection in machines.

“As part of a county Health Department grant to encourage more of a healthy lifestyle, we should be looking at adding healthier choices in the vending machines in county buildings,” County Administrator John R. “Jack” Searles said.

To do that, specific guidelines will have to be met by the vendor that is awarded the contract. Items in the machines will have to be healthier options and not empty calories, he said.

“We will want to build specifics into the request for proposals on the vending,” Searles said. “We have recommendations from Dr. [Kevin] Watkins, the public health director, that would help us to encourage healthier choices in the community.”

Through the grants awarded to the county Health Department, encouragement is in place to change the contents of vending machines from sugary, high-calorie snacks in favor of 100-percent juices and healthy snacks.

Recommendations that will be built into proposal specifications are that drinks should be unsweetened, for the most part, with any sweetened drinks being located on the bottom racks and a higher cost than those deemed to be healthier, as well as other changes to promote healthy choices for snacking.