Foodservice Equipment Reports Fortnightly

Welcome to FER Fortnightly Online Newsletter
March 21, 2006

Economic Report:
Sponsored by:
Atlas Metal
Industries Inc.
Blue Chip Economists Forecast First Quarter Bounce, Then Continued GDP Growth Around 3%
Jobs Growth In February Bodes Well For Foodservice
And Now For The Long View, Or Real GDP To Grow 3% in 2012

Industry Report:
Sponsored by:
Power Soak

Nerbonne Takes Reins At Enodis' Americas Operations
Dormont Releases Guide To Gas Appliance Standards
CFESA Announces 2006 Spring Conference Agenda
MAFSI Offers Customer Roadshows
Foodservice Companies Among Fortune's 'Most Admired'
Culver's, Famous Dave's Make IFMA 2006 Silver Plate List

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In This Section:
ASHRAE, IESNA To Set New 'Green' Standards
U.S. House Passes Food Labeling Uniformity Act
Austin Restaurant Patios Go To The Dogs
Bridgeport Restaurant Restrooms On The Hook
Where There's Smoke, There's Lawyers

This issue's Economic ReportSponsor: Atlas Metal Industries Inc. |  Industry ReportSponsor: Power Soak

Regulatory Report Sponsored by Hotelex Shanghai, April 4-7, 2006

ASHRAE, IESNA To Set New 'Green' Standards
A futuristic notion just a few years ago, the idea of building sustainable, enviro-friendly facilities has taken a big step toward eventually becoming part of local codes.

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers, the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America and the U.S. Green Building Council announced Feb. 15 a joint project to set a new high performance standard for "green" buildings.

The two engineering associations will use USGBC's LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building rating system as a baseline to develop Standard 189P. The LEED program promotes the top 25% most efficient building practices. The new standard will provide minimum requirements for the design of sustainable buildings to balance environmental responsibility, resource efficiency, occupant comfort and well-being, and community sensitivity.

Expected to be completed by 2007, Standard 189P also will be ANSI-accredited, so local municipalities can incorporate it into their building codes.


Section sponsored by Hotelex Shanghai, April 4-7, 2006

U.S. House Passes Food Labeling Uniformity Act
Here's a development that's more important to the food side than the facilities and equipment side for the moment, but it sets a precedent worth watching:

As expected, the U.S. House on March 8 passed the controversial National Uniformity for Food Act of 2005. The Act, predicated on the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, deals with existing labeling requirements for adulterated cosmetics and foods, unsafe additives and animal drugs in interstate commerce. And specifically, the new act preempts state and political subdivisions from deviating from the FFDCA.

If passed by the Senate, the new Act would, for example, preempt California's Prop 65, which requires consumer notification of contaminants in food known to cause cancer or birth defects.

Opponents of the bill—which include state departments of agriculture, state food and drug officials, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the California attorney general and a long list of consumer advocacy groups—say the proposed law would preempt states' rights to establish and enforce food safety laws. More than 80% of food inspections are conducted by state and local officials.

Proponents say the bill allows states to petition for exemptions and changes in specific cases, and they note sanitation issues remain unaffected. The bill now goes to the Senate for a vote.

Section sponsored by Hotelex Shanghai, April 4-7, 2006

Austin Restaurant Patios Go To The Dogs
The Austin city council recently voted on a new ordinance that allows you to open up your outdoor dining areas to your customers' dogs. Texas state health code follows FDA Food Code in requiring restaurants to ban all animals except those in service to the disabled. The city, though, has the right to grant restaurants the option to allow dogs or not.

While there was some opposition to the proposed reg at a public hearing in early March, it wasn't much of a dogfight. The vote to let restaurant patios go to the dogs ended up 6-1 in favor.

The movement seems to be gaining in popularity. State legislators in Florida also are pushing an ordinance that would permit dogs to accompany their owners to outdoor dining areas in Orlando. Looks like an opportunity for an equipment maker to invent doggie restroom facilities.

Section sponsored by Hotelex Shanghai, April 4-7, 2006

Bridgeport Restaurant Restrooms On The Hook
Speaking of restrooms, if you have one in Bridgeport, Conn., it better have a coat hook for every stall from now on. The city council there just approved an addition to the local health ordinance requiring public facilities to install a coat hook for every commode or toilet.

What's the connection between coat hooks and public health? "No one should ever have to leave their belongings on a bathroom floor," Council member Ken Rodgerson, sponsor of the ordinance, said. He also noted that businesses often seem more concerned with attending to the cleanliness of women's facilities than men's. (There was no word in the council minutes on how he knew this to be the case.)

The new ordinance takes effect in September. Establishments that aren't in compliance will get a warning and five days to correct the infraction.

Section sponsored by Hotelex Shanghai, April 4-7, 2006

Where There's Smoke, There's Lawyers
Frankly, news about smoking debates has gotten out of hand. When is news no longer news? But here's a quick update on recent action in Calabasas, Calif.; Virginia; South Dakota and St. Paul, Minn.:

Getting all the big headlines this past weekend, a complete ban of secondhand smoke took effect March 17 in the city of Calabasas, Calif. The law, passed Feb. 15, soon after the California Air Resources Board formally declared secondhand smoke a toxic pollutant, prohibits smoking in any public areas where people including nonsmokers might be expected to congregate. That would include indoor and outdoor shopping malls, bus stops, sidewalks, parks, parking lots and common areas in residential developments. You can still smoke on your patio or in your backyard provided it's not adjacent to a public area such as a pool, laundry room or courtyard.

First-time offenders are liable for a $500 fine. Repeaters could do jail time. The city is offering applications for designated smoking areas and maintains the ban is on secondhand smoke and not on smoking per se.

The Virginia state Senate has sent fresh anti-smoking legislation to the House for a vote. A revision to the clean indoor air act the state passed in 1990 would ban smoking in almost all public places, including restaurants and bars. Under the proposal, smoking would be allowed only in private homes, designated hotel rooms, tobacco stores, and private function rooms.

The State Senate defeated similar legislation a year ago, but anti-smoking sentiment has gained momentum, even here in the home state of Philip Morris, the world's largest cigarette producer.

Elsewhere, South Dakota's House of Representatives, meanwhile, recently approved a bill that would give towns and counties the authority to set limits on smoking. The State banned smoking in all public places except those that serve alcohol or rely primarily on tobacco or packaged liquor sales. HB 1155 would permit cities and counties to enact stricter regulations. The bill goes to the senate for a vote, possibly next month.

And in Minnesota, the smoking ban enacted by the St. Paul, Minn., city council last month may be put to a citywide vote. Opponents of the ban, which goes into effect March 31, say they plan to get the 4,300 signatures needed on a petition to put the issue on the ballot in November.

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