Isaiah Freedman staff writer
It’s perfectly acceptable for vending machines to serve unhealthy snacks and treats. In fact, that is their core purpose, to provide a quick dose of carbohydrates to help students labor through a long day of school. They are not obviously not expected to contain gourmet food.
However, the “Health Vending by h.u.m.a.n.” machines are a marketing scam. It would be fine if the machines just had the company logo printed on them, and actually sold healthy food, but to sell the consumer on “healthy” when most of the food is junk is ethically wrong.
Many of the chips served contain monosodium glutamate (MSG) a harmful chemical that is found in Doritos, Cheetos and other toxic snacks. MSG causes laziness and invokes headaches due to its astronomically high salt content of 20 to 40 percent. It is basically the quintessential ingredient associated with unhealthy snacks.
While chips brands such as barbeque PopChips, Garden Salsa Sun Chips and Jalapeno Ms. Vickies chips do not technically list MSG as an ingredient, they are exploiting a little-known loophole in branding. An ingredient called “yeast extract,” very common in salty snacks, is a technical term for MSG. It has many of the same amino acids and chemicals as MSG and produces the same symptoms. Unfortunately, brands can list yeast extract as an ingredient yet claim their product is MSG free.
This is the same game the vending machine company is playing. Once again, it’s totally fine to just sell junk food, but to attempt to twist the facts by calling their company “Healthy Vending” yet selling unhealthy products to make kids believe that what they are eating is semi-healthy is just wrong.
Stick to reliable fruits and veggies.