NYC Calorie Police Shaking Up More Than QSRs
Oh, what a tangled web we weave when the Law of Unintended Consequences starts spinning webs.
Case in point: the recently rewritten New York City ordinance that requires all chains of 15 or more units to post calorie counts. The rule primarily was intended to shed light on fast-food calories. But it nonetheless included all chains, and all items posted on a menu, including drink and cocktail menus.
So now people are astounded to see the whopping calorie counts in all kinds of dining, not to mention the fancy cocktails.
A nutritionist with New York University Medical Center notes that an appetizer of prosciutto-wrapped mozzarella with tomatoes, accompanied by a 10-ounce filet mignon with asparagus, lump crabmeat and bearnaise sauce at Capital Grille logs in at 1,575 calories. For comparison, a Double Whopper with cheese and large fries at Burger King weighs in at 1,490, according to the company's website.
"It's really a shock to see a drink is 500, 600 calories," said Cathy Nonas, director of physical activity and nutrition programs for the New York health department. "That's almost a third of what you should eat for the day."
Lakeport, Calif., Readies Big FOG Fines
Looking ahead to a November 2009 deadline for complying with Environmental Protection Agency storm-sewer regulations, the Lakeport, Calif., city council recently approved a first reading of a proposed ordinance that would mandate hefty fines for Fats-Oils-Grease violations. A second reading is scheduled for March 4.
The new FOG ordinance would allow the city, about two hours north of San Francisco, to impose fines on restaurants that don't install grease traps or take other measures to keep their sewer pipes clean. Penalties would range from $50 for a first-offense failure to submit records to $1,000 for a fourth-offense failure to pump grease and submit records. Major-violation fines would range from $500 for a source of minimal sewer blockage to a fine of $25,000 for a maximum source of sanitary sewer overflow.
New Palm Beach Guidelines Just Say No To Chains
To protect the town's character and prevent overdevelopment, the Palm Beach, Fla., town council has asked the town attorney to draft an ordinance preventing chain restaurants, or more precisely, chain restaurant concepts, from opening in commercial zones. A draft could be ready for review at the town's March 4 council meeting.
Concerned when Starbucks opened a store in Palm Beach two years ago, the town zoning commission imposed a "zoning-in-progress" rule, or ZIP, that blocked other chains from moving in until it defined what constituted a chain. At a Feb. 11 special meeting, the council approved guidelines that define a "formula" restaurant as one of a chain of three or more stores nationally sharing a similar name or trademark with standardized and limited menus, ingredients, and food and beverage preparation, and standardized characteristics of design, architecture and uniforms.
Zoning administrator Paul Castro said if the new guidelines become law, a chain could still open a restaurant in town as long as the concept is unique to Palm Beach.
Survey Says U.K. Restaurants Don't Know WEEE
Show of hands: How many of you know what WEEE is?
A recent survey of nearly 4,500 small- and medium-size businesses in the U.K. shows that only 8% of hotel and restaurant respondents could name the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment regulations, which took effect a year ago. Only 28% had heard of WEEE when prompted.
The regs require manufacturers and distributors selling electrical and electronic products that contain hazardous waste to set up methods of recycling the products. All consumers and businesses have to do to prevent those wastes from ending up in landfillnow illegal in most placesis get in touch with the manufacturer or distributor. Most suppliers have give-back programs.
Small- and medium-size businesses generate about 60% of all commercial waste in England and Wales, according to NetRegs, the company that conducted the survey. Fewer than half of small- and medium-size hotel and restaurant businesses have implemented practical green programs, NetRegs said, and ignoring WEEE may be costing operators money in waste disposal.