Foodservice Equipment Reports Fortnightly
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Welcome to FER Fortnightly Online Newsletter
February 23, 2010








Economic Report:
Sponsored by:
Henny Penny
MAFSI Barometer Falls 12.8% In Q4, Matching Record Drop
NRA Performance Index Improves To Best Level Since Early 2008
NPD Reports U.S. Restaurant Units Declined In Second Half 2009
Mid-Atlantic, Colorado To Lead Sales Growth In 2010
Revised FER 2010 E&S Forecast Available

Industry Report:
Sponsored by:
A.J. Antunes & Co.
New Prototype Scales Down Chipotle
Burger King Plans 250 To 300 Net New Units, Opens In Russia
NRA Announces Kitchen Innovations Honorees
DQ Blizzards To Hit Egypt, Macau
Carl's Jr. Eyes Texas
Hatco Marks 60th Year With Corporate History



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In This Section:
Doggie Bags Still Okay In D.C.
Smoking Bans Debated In Kansas, Missouri
States Step Up Allergy Awareness
Obama Budget Boosts Food-Safety Efforts

This issue's Economic ReportSponsor: Henny Penny 
Industry Report Sponsor: A.J. Antunes & Co. 
Regulatory Report Manitowoc Foodservice

Doggie Bags Still Okay In D.C.
The "paper or plastic?" quandary may soon be a dim memory as legislation spreads banning the use of plastic bags. But in the meantime, confusion prevails.

Washington, D.C., for example, recently passed a first-in-the-nation ordinance requiring retail stores to charge a 5-cent tax on plastic bags. But the legislation there—which initially seemed to apply to operators packing up take-out orders and doggie bags—needed an overhaul even before being implemented.

The originally proposed regulations—due to become law after a 30-day public-comment period—seemed specific enough. It stated the tax would apply to bakeries and delicatessens, grocery stores and restaurants, convenience stores and street vendors that sell food, liquor stores and "any business that sells food items."

But the tax, paid by the consumer and designed to change consumer behavior and limit pollution in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, still left questions unanswered. And those questions resulted in new regulations clarifying whether restaurants have to charge the tax and how the city would enforce the law.

Under the revised proposal, the tax will not apply to bags used to package goods inside food stores, or, most importantly, in foodservice operations. The revision makes it clear that certain bags—including "paper carryout bags provided to a customer to take away food from a restaurant"—are exempt (as are bags that package newspapers, prescription drugs, laundry, or dry cleaning). In other words, paper bags for takeout are okay. Provisions were also inserted to allow fast-food toys and utensils to be placed in bags defined as "food-only bags."

Beginning April 1, stores in the District will not be allowed to use any paper or plastic disposable bags that are not 100 % recyclable. "All paper and plastic disposable carryout bags shall display in a highly visible manner the phrase 'Please Recycle This Bag,' " according to the regulations. You can find the proposed regulations at newsroom.dc.gov. Choose District Department of the Environment (DDOE) from the Agency dropdown list.

 

Section sponsored by Manitowoc Foodservice

Smoking Bans Debated In Kansas, Missouri
Restaurant smoking bans continue to gain traction even as controversies in wording and limits play out against state and community guidelines. The latest is in Kansas, where a proposed law would ban smoking statewide in most enclosed public and work places, while exempting some restaurants and bars that pay for the privilege.

The 1,000-member Kansas Restaurant & Hospitality Association has said it won’t fight HB 2642, which would permit restaurateurs and bar, casino and private-club owners to designate their entire establishments as a smoking section if they pay an annual exemption fee equal to $1 per square foot of area designated for that activity. The bill also would enable those owners to create or continue using enclosed smoking sections served by dedicated ventilation systems, similar to the compromises forged in a handful of states, such as Virginia, which allow restaurants and bars to set up separately enclosed, separately ventilated, indoor smoking areas.

The proposed Kansas measure would require businesses and clubs to post signs stating their smoking policies and prohibit minors from entering establishments that permit smoking throughout or in enclosed smoking areas.

And in Missouri, HB 1766 proposes a statewide ban on smoking in enclosed public and work places, including restaurants and bars.

Adoption of the proposed statewide bans on smoking in restaurants in Missouri and Kansas would make them the 31st and 32nd states to adopt such comprehensive measures, according to the American Lung Association. That total includes North Carolina, where restaurants and bars fell under a statewide ban on smoking Jan. 2; Michigan, where such businesses will be covered by a statewide ban as of May 1; and Wisconsin, where a statewide ban begins July 5.

According to the American Lung Association, all but five of the 30 states now banning smoking in restaurants also prohibit smoking in freestanding bars.


Section sponsored by Manitowoc Foodservice

States Step Up Allergy Awareness
Food allergies make life difficult for the sufferer. One of those difficulties: Allergy sufferers heading out to restaurants are responsible for communicating to distracted waiters and unseen kitchen staff that certain ingredients will cause dangerous reactions.

That balance of responsibility is shifting, though. Massachusetts has become the first state to officially put some of the onus on restaurants, and bills are pending in at least two other states.

Under the Food Allergy Awareness Act signed into law last year and scheduled to go into effect July 1, Massachusetts operators will be required to post a food-allergy awareness poster in the staff area, place a notice on menus for customers with food allergies and provide additional food-allergy training for persons in charge who are certified in food safety.

The law says menu notice must clearly and conspicuously include these words: "Before placing your order, please inform your server if a person in your party has a food allergy." A consumer notice is not required on menu boards or at points of sale. Failure to comply will result in the operation being debited by the local board of health, entail possible fines, and require correction within 10 days.

Over in New York City, the city council previously approved a proposal to require posters with food-allergy information in foodservice operations. Acknowledging the city’s multilingual population, if passed, the proposal would require posters to be available in multiple languages besides English, including but not limited to Chinese, Korean, Russian and Spanish.

Pending bills in Connecticut’s statehouse would require restaurants there to identify menu items prepared with known food allergens and state whether the operation uses products containing the eight major food allergens in its kitchen. In Pennsylvania, HB 45 would require training programs to prepare candidates for certification exams include training on food allergies, including a video and written materials.

According to the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network, accidental ingestion of food allergens results in more than 100,000 annual ER visits.

More information is available at foodallergy.org or at www.mass.gov/dph/fpp.


Section sponsored by Manitowoc Foodservice

Obama Budget Boosts Food-Safety Efforts
Food safety and the infrastructure necessary to ensure it will get a boost in the federal government’s recently unveiled fiscal year 2011 budget. The request for more than $4 billion for the Food and Drug Administration includes an increase of $318 million in food-safety resources.

In March ’09, President Obama established the Food Safety Working Group to develop solutions to the nation’s food-safety problems. Under the new budget, the FDA will focus greater efforts and resources on science-based prevention of foodborne illness, strengthen surveillance and enforcement through more frequent and targeted inspections, and improve response to and recovery from outbreaks of food-related illnesses.

The FDA will work with states to set standards for state inspection programs and improve response and recovery time by building the infrastructure to integrate federal and state food-safety activities. Modernized lab capacity and test methods will get a larger investment to help speed up the detection of harmful food contaminants. The ’11 budget also will cover the hiring and training of staff to handle an additional 159 foreign inspections and 1,978 domestic inspections.



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