Foodservice Equipment Reports Fortnightly
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Welcome to FER Fortnightly Online Newsletter
January 15, 2008








Economic Report:
Sponsored by:
Manitowoc
Foodservice Group

Stainless Pricing To Moderate, Other Commodities Mixed
Tough Period For General Economic News, Some Restaurant Chain Same-Store-Sales Comparison
Economists Cut Consensus Forecasts For 2008 Again, Says Blue Chip, As Worry About Recession Increases

Industry Report:
Sponsored by:
Server Products
Berkshire Hathaway Buys Equipment Makers With Marmon Group Acquisition
Water, Water Everywhere, But Not Near Water Conventions
Subway Employees Ride Internet For Food Safety Info



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In This Section:
San Francisco Judges Okay City's Universal Healthcare Plan
Fulton, Mo., Prepares Food Code Change, Then Tables It
Connecticut Sees Green In New Buildings' Future
FDA Now Looking At Salt Control
Canadians, Marylanders Start Trans Fat Diet

This issue's Economic ReportSponsor: Manitowoc Foodservice Group 
Industry Report Sponsor: Server Products
Regulatory Report Enodis

San Francisco Judges Okay City's Universal Healthcare Plan
Until an appeal is heard later this year, a panel of three federal judges for the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has decided, San Francisco can move forward with the next phase of its plan to provide universal healthcare coverage.

In December, the Golden Gate Restaurant Association challenged the city's healthcare law in district court, saying it violates federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act law prohibiting states or localities from regulating benefits programs. A court agreed, but the city immediately filed an appeal, which it won on Jan. 9.

At issue was whether the city of San Francisco could require firms with 20 or more employees to either provide healthcare coverage for them or pay into a city fund at a rate of $1.17 to $1.76 per hour per employee (depending on the number of employees). Judge William A. Fletcher said that "public interest would be served" by the appeal panel's decision to reverse the lower court judge's ruling.

The city presently provides healthcare coverage to more than 7,400 people through the "Healthy San Francisco" plan. In the next phase allowed by the judges' decision, about 20,000 people will get coverage, and the city hopes to eventually cover 73,000 with the plan.

The court will hear full arguments on the appeals case in May or June.

 

Section sponsored by Enodis

Fulton, Mo., Prepares Food Code Change, Then Tables It
Who moves first? About 110 miles west of St. Louis, city council members for Fulton, Mo., have been talking about rustling up some food code changes for the past year. The problem? The city's code, according to health officer Cindy Miller, is "acceptable," but it doesn't match the state's. The state's, she says, is more specific, and changing the city's to match it would allow operators with units both in and outside Fulton to be more consistent in their food safety efforts.

Trouble is, Missouri has announced it intends to implement changes in its own code, but the state hasn't done it yet. Tired of waiting, the council created its own update recently but proposed at a meeting in early January that it would write a clause into the new ordinance saying Fulton's food code will always be consistent with the state code.

Now, however, the council has tabled a decision until the language of the ordinance is clarified.

The only thing really truly clear is that something is going to change.


Section sponsored by Enodis

Connecticut Sees Green In New Buildings' Future
If you aren't thinking about green designs for your future units now's the time to start, especially if you plan stores in Connecticut. The state has issued requirements for state buildings that will also impact private buildings next year.

As of this past Jan.1, all new-construction state buildings costing more than $5 million with at least $2 million in state funding must meet "silver" Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, energy efficiency standards set by the U.S. Green Building Council. Renovations to existing state facilities that cost at least $2 million with at least $2 million in state funding also have to meet the LEED standards.

As of Jan. 1, 2009, the same requirements apply to both all new buildings and all renovations in the state, both public and private, except certain residential buildings. As the cost of new construction continues to rise, more operators are likely to find that $5 million threshold easy to cross.

For more information on the LEED standards, go to Connecticut's Green Building Council site at www.ctgbc.org.


Section sponsored by Enodis

FDA Now Looking At Salt Control
As if you don't have enough to worry about with anti-obesity laws, the Food and Drug Administration may soon try to prevent the public from experiencing the fate of Lot's wife.

The agency is presently reviewing salt's GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status. Concerned that the public may be consuming far more salt than it should, the FDA is considering whether to reclassify salt as a food additive.

The National Academy of Sciences recommends that adults consume no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day—about a teaspoon. We only need about 200 mg. daily for our bodies to function properly. But the American Dietetic Association estimates most people consume 2,400 to 7,200 mg. per day.

That's more than 10 times what NAS recommends, and of that figure, the U.S. Department of Agriculture figures about 75% comes from processed food and restaurant meals.

The FDA is keeping its options open, according to Laura Tarantino, director of the FDA's office of food additive safety.


Section sponsored by Enodis

Canadians, Marylanders Start Trans Fat Diet
Helping consumers with New Year's resolutions, trans fat bans took effect in Calgary, Alberta, and Montgomery County, Md., on Jan.1. Both are firsts: Calgary is the first Canadian city to enact a ban; and Montgomery County is the first U.S. county to do so.

Both bans are phased plans. In Montgomery County restaurants can no longer use frying oils, spreads or margarines with more than one-half gram of trans fat per serving. Starting Jan.1, 2009, restaurants won't be able to use frying oils with any amount of trans fat. And by '10, products such as baked goods and prepared foods containing trans fat will be banned as well.

Under Calgary's new law, restaurants can't use cooking oil, margarine or spreads containing more than 2% trans fat content. This time next year, the ban will include baked goods and prepared foods containing 5% trans fat or more. Restaurants will have a five-month grace period before they risk having permits pulled, said Dr. Richard Musto, executive director of public health for the Calgary Health Region.



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