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San Francisco Health Network

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About DPH

A Culture of Health

The mission of the San Francisco Department of Public Health (DPH) is to protect and promote the health of all San Franciscans. Consuming healthy food and beverages is crucial to preventing chronic diseases that decrease quality of life and increase health care costs.

The City and County of San Francisco has committed to helping people make healthier eating and drinking choices by improving the nutritional quality of food and beverages sold on City Property and served by the City. In alignment with DPH’s policy (Healthy Food & Food Expenditure and Healthy Vending Policy) and San Francisco’s city ordinance (91-16) to enhance wellness, the Healthier Vending Initiative formalizes DPH’s commitment toward creating a healthy environment that promotes healthy lifestyles for patients, staff, visitors, and the community at large. The initiative consists of: new vending machines at DPH sites and a campaign to promote healthier choices and compliance with city/DPH policies.

The Healthier Vending Initiative will replace sugary drinks with healthy beverage selections, and provide healthier vending options throughout our facilities. All vending machines at DPH sites will now be managed under DPH’s new vending machine contractor Canteen. DPH sites will have DPH Branch-branded vending machines with contents that comply with all DPH and city policies. Through this contract, DPH will provide an environment where healthy choices are more accessible, affordable, and varied in the vending machines.

Why now?

In alignment with the San Francisco Department of Public Health’s mission to protect and promote the health of all San Franciscans, it is important to provide and promote healthy food and beverage options at DPH sites, sponsored events, and within all DPH facilities.

Effective 6/27/2016, an ordinance (91-16) was adopted, requiring that prepackaged food and beverages sold in vending machines on City property, including DPH property, meet specified nutritional standards and calorie labeling requirements. In light of these developments, this policy aims to ensure that vending machine operators that manage machines within DPH facilities and buildings meet and maintain compliance with the aforementioned legislation.

Frequently Asked Questions

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How are sugar sweetened beverages (SSB) and prepackaged food defined?

Sugar-sweetened beverages are defined as a beverage with one or more added caloric sweeteners and contains more than 25 calories per 12 ounces of beverage. It does not include milk, 100% fruit juice, infant formula, medical food, or a supplemental meal replacement or sole-source nutrition.

Prepackaged foods are defined as any properly labeled packaged processed foods that are without direct human contact after distribution from a manufacturer, a food facility, or other sources (i.e. vending machines).

What does this mean for Food Service?

In compliance with legislation prohibiting the use of city funds to purchase SSB, the DPH and its contractors will ensure that vending machines for patients and staffs on DPH campuses will not contain SSB. Additionally, by providing only the packaged foods that meet nutrition guidelines, vending machines within DPH facilities and buildings will be compliant with the legislation. Lastly, when DPH serves food at meetings or events, staffs will make best effort to provide healthiest options and not offer sugary drinks.

What does this mean for vending machines and other food concessions?

A variety of healthy beverages including water unsweetened tea, coffee, 100% fruit juice, milk, diet and zero calorie soft drinks, and sparkling water will be offered throughout DPH sites. Only non-sugary sweetened beverages are to be offered through all concessions on campus.

Prepackaged Foods in vending machines on city property shall meet these nutritional standards:

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  • No more than 200 calories per serving

  • No more than 35% of calories from fat

  • No more 1g of saturated fat per serving

  • No trans-fat or partially hydrogenated oil on ingredients list

  • No more than 35% of total weight from total sugars

  • No more than 240mg of sodium per serving

  • No candy (except for sugar free mints & gum)

  • No chips (except for baked or pretzels)

Foods exempt from nutritional standards:

  • Fruit & vegetables with no added sugars, salt, or fat

  • Nut & seeds (including peanut butter & other nut butters), but a serving cannot exceed 1.5oz.

  • Plant based spreads (i.e. hummus, guacamole)

  • Low-fat, fat-free, & reduced fat cheeses (light cream cheese included)

Healthy food at meetings

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The Department of Public Health (DPH) and its Contractors may not use City Funds to purchase SSBs.

DPH employees that order, authorize, and purchase refreshments must use best efforts to ensure foods and beverages served at DPH events meet these nutritional standards:

  • Water available and accessible (not bottled water)

  • Food items should be in smaller portions as possible

  • Vegetarian/vegan options available as possible

  • Minimally processed foods without added sugar, are low sodium

  • Healthy cooking techniques: baking, roasting, grilling, broiling, poaching, steaming, stir fry,

  • Foods contain less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving

If foods are prepackaged, they must meet nutrition guidelines outlined for vending machines.


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Click on the images below to print the files. 11x17 posters may be posted near vending machines, and 8.5x11 signs should be posted in all meeting rooms in DPH facilities.

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11x17 Posters:

Meeting Room Signs: