Foodservice Equipment Reports Fortnightly

Welcome to FER Fortnightly Online Newsletter
January 20, 2009

Economic Report:
Sponsored by:
The NAFEM Show '09

FER Sticks To Forecasting Guns, At Least For Now
NRA Forecast: Southwest, West To Fare Best In Tough Year
Purchasing Magazine Shows Prices In Freefall
Employment, Retail Sales Dive In December

Industry Report:
Sponsored by:
Server Products
Meeting Set For Energy Star Griddle Standard
Whalen To Head Electrolux F.S. Americas
Reminder: NSF Awards Deadline Nears
Pizza Fusion Plans Faster Growth
Quiznos To Break Ground In India

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In This Section:
Texas To Try Trimming Trans Fat
Two More Cities Say No To FOG
Orange County Gets 'F' On Restaurant Grading
Clock Ticking In Seattle For Polystyrene Take-Out Packaging
N.H. Bill Says 'Live Allergen-Free Or Die'

This issue's Economic ReportSponsor: The NAFEM Show '09 
Industry Report Sponsor: Server Products 
Regulatory Report Manitowoc Foodservice

Texas To Try Trimming Trans Fat
Everything in Texas is big, and Texans generally are proud of that. But a new bill in the state legislature may make it a little easier for the citizens of the Longhorn State to keep from growing Texas-size.

Eliot Shapleigh, state senator from El Paso, has introduced legislation to ban trans fat from restaurant food by September 2010, and from baked goods and packaged foods by the following September. An exception: Trans fat in oil used to prepare yeast dough or cake batter. The bill, modeled after California's, is up for debate this month in the legislature.

"Already, California, New York and McDonald's are moving to healthy diets," Shapleigh said. "Texas should move to healthier lifestyles, too."

Trans fat has been cited for increasing the risk of high cholesterol, heart disease and stroke. It's also been linked to the increase in obesity across the country.

Fines for violating the proposed law are set between $25 and $200. Restaurants will have to keep labels on hand for products in use to verify trans-fat content, or lack thereof.


Section sponsored by Manitowoc Foodservice

Two More Cities Say No To FOG
Add Virginia Beach, Va., and Mission Springs, Calif., to the list of cities looking to implement new sewer ordinances to clear up fats, oils and grease in the water system.

State law in Virginia already requires restaurants to have grease traps, but no one enforces it, according to Tom Leahy, Virginia Beach's director of public utilities. Since the Environmental Protection Agency holds local water utilities responsible for sanitary sewer overflows, the city wants to put some bite into the law. The proposed city ordinance would give the city the right to inspect restaurant grease traps and maintenance records. The ordinance, if passed, would allow the city to shut off water service to offending restaurants.

On the other side of the country, the Mission Springs Water District held public hearings in mid-December on its proposed new sewer ordinance. Restaurants would be required to install grease traps or interceptors limiting grease discharge to 100mg/liter. Traps would have to be emptied whenever they become 25% full. The utility plans to inspect traps at least once a year.

Section sponsored by Manitowoc Foodservice

Orange County Gets 'F' On Restaurant Grading
The Orange County, Calif., Board of Supervisors has decided for a second time not to issue letter-grade report cards to restaurants, despite a warning from a county grand jury.

The grand jury said the county ought to make restaurants do a better job of letting consumers know how they fared on their latest health inspections. Neighboring Los Angeles County, for example, requires restaurants to prominently post letter grades issued by its inspectors. Several other localities in the state issue either letter grades or colored cards indicating how well restaurants do in inspections.

Orange County already requires restaurants to post inspection results in the form of a certificate that says either they meet county standards or they're scheduled for reinspection due to past violations.

Though the grand jury said consumers need better information posted more prominently, county supervisors declined. They said they'll make the "reinspection scheduled" clause more evident on certificates instead.

Section sponsored by Manitowoc Foodservice

Clock Ticking In Seattle For Polystyrene Take-Out Packaging
Seattle's ban on expanded polystyrene takeout-food packaging took effect Jan. 1. The new law gives restaurants until July 1, 2010, to switch packaging, straws and disposable utensils to recyclable or compostable materials or face the music--$250 worth.

Utensils are still a problem for some operators, according to Seattle public utilities manager Dick Lilly. Some compostable utensils melt in hot soups or other foods. "We're going to be reasonable about it," he said. "The technology hasn't caught up to the spoon issue."

The Seattle city council also passed a plastic bag fee that would charge consumers 20 cents for plastic bags in stores, including restaurants. The intent of the ordinance was to encourage consumers to use recyclable bags. The plastic-bag ordinance was supposed to take effect Jan. 1, but a petition garnered enough signatures to put the issue to a vote on the November ballot.

Section sponsored by Manitowoc Foodservice

N.H. Bill Says 'Live Allergen-Free Or Die'
New Hampshire, with license plates that say "Live Free Or Die," has just seen a bill introduced in its senate that calls for restaurants to post information to raise awareness of food allergies. Similar to a bill passed by the Massachusetts senate and now being considered by its house, the New Hampshire law would require restaurants to put up posters in serving areas and a disclaimer on menus about food allergies. The notice would make it clear that it's the customer's obligation to tell the server about any food allergies.

Lou D'Allesandro, the senatoidsponsoring the bill, says he also wants the state health department to develop a voluntary program to designate restaurants "food allergy friendly" if they meet certain criteria such as including all the ingredients of items on the menu.

In addition to protecting both consumers and restaurants, the bill would help restaurants market themselves when they offer allergen-free menu items, according to D'Allesandro.

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