Foodservice Equipment Reports Fortnightly

Welcome to FER Fortnightly Online Newsletter
March 24, 2009

Economic Report:
Sponsored by:
New Survey Shows E&S Suppliers Less Pessimistic Than Most
FER Revises 2009 E&S Forecast Down Sharply
Many Public E&S Companies Report Big Declines In Q4 '08
'Great' Recession Expected To Be Longest, Deepest Since WWII

Industry Report:
Sponsored by:
Server Products
Ali Group Names Nerbonne To Head North America Operations
NAFEM Elects New Board Members
CFESA Elects Board Members, Officers
Buffalo Wild Wings, McDonald's CEOs Win Silver Plates

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In This Section:
ADA Changes On Hold Pending Review
Kentucky Intros Calorie-Posting Law...
...While Court Upholds NYC's Rule...
...Opening Floodgates To More Legislation?
Bay Area Big On Banning Foam; Monterey The Latest

This issue's Economic ReportSponsor: Food&HotelVietnam2009  
Industry Report Sponsor: Server Products 
Regulatory Report Manitowoc Foodservice

ADA Changes On Hold Pending Review
Whatever changes you were in-process with, hold on. Changes to the Americans with Disabilities Act proposed by the Department of Justice last June have been put on hold pending review by President Obama's Administration.

That means any changes to the ADA's Accessibility Guidelines, which get updated periodically by the Department of Justice, also are on hold for the time being.

The currently proposed changes, the most sweeping since ADA was first enacted, would require businesses such as restaurants and hotels to retrofit to meet the new guidelines even if they already are in compliance with ADA. Changes that would affect foodservice include side reach (which affects height of things like light switches and door handles); clearance in toilet stalls with doors that swing inward; elevators; assistive listening systems and accessible paths through employee work areas—all potentially expensive fixes.

The DOJ, though, also has proposed a “safe harbor” clause in the changes, which would exempt some facilities from the changes if they comply with 1991 ADA standards. The Administration hasn't set a timetable for review.


Section sponsored by Manitowoc Foodservice

Kentucky Intros Calorie-Posting Law...
Kentucky may be the next state in line to pass nutrition-labeling requirements for menus and menu boards.

Legislation introduced in mid-February would require chains with 10 or more units in the state to post calorie counts on menus and/or menu boards. Other nutrition information, including total calories, saturated fat, total carbohydrates and sodium is encouraged, but not required at point of sale.

According to the bill's sponsor, Sen. Denise Harper Angel, a recent study that shows Kentucky to have one the highest obesity rates in the country is reason enough to pass the bill. “It's not a matter of big government trying to tell people what to eat,” she said. "It's just empowering our consumers with the information to make the best choices for themselves."

Section sponsored by Manitowoc Foodservice

...While Court Upholds NYC's Rule…
After legal and political haggling that has gone on for a couple years, a federal appeals court confirmed recently that New York City's ordinance requiring chains to post calorie content is valid.

Ruling on a case filed last year by the New York State Restaurant Association, a three-judge appeals panel has said the ordinance doesn't violate First Amendment free-speech rights, nor is it pre-empted by federal nutrition labeling law.

The court decision said the ordinance “mandates a simple factual disclosure of caloric information and is reasonably related to New York City's goals of combating obesity.” The federal law on labeling, the court ruled, wasn't intended to apply to restaurants, so state and local governments are free to make their own rules in that sector. The state restaurant association hasn't yet indicated whether it plans to appeal the ruling further.

New York's ordinance has been in effect since last July and has served as the basis for similar legislation elsewhere, such as the ordinance that took effect in King County, Wash., in January.

Section sponsored by Manitowoc Foodservice

...Opening Floodgates To More Legislation?
States and cities aren't waiting for Congress to pass the Labeling Education and Nutrition, or LEAN, Act. LEAN, which Congress decided not to address last session, would create uniform rules across the country about how to post nutrition information in chain restaurants. Now, the court ruling in New York's favor may well spur more locales to enact their own rules.

Philadelphia just approved a bill that is one of the toughest labeling laws in the country. The ordinance, which doesn't take effect until Jan. 1, requires chains with 15 or more units to list calories, saturated fat, trans fat, carbohydrates and sodium on menus and menu boards, not just make the information available at point of purchase.

Nutrition-posting legislation is under consideration by state legislatures in Massachusetts, Maryland, Indiana, West Virginia and Kentucky, among others, as well as numerous municipalities. While the bills are well-intentioned and may be inevitable, detractors complain that they require chains to jump through different hoops at the whim of local legislators.

Some lawmakers, though, are approaching the issue with a modicum of common sense. Hawaii's legislature has proposed simply requiring chains to post a statement on menu boards that nutrition information is available. Lawmakers there say the state doesn't have the money to enforce a stronger bill anyway. And a Utah Senate committee just approved a bill that would prohibit counties and cities in the state from creating nutrition-posting rules. The bill's sponsor, Sen. Howard Stephenson, said such rules should be consistent statewide if enacted at all.

In this troubled economy, at least sign makers will be busy.

Section sponsored by Manitowoc Foodservice

Bay Area Big On Banning Foam; Monterey The Latest
The California movement to ban polystyrene foam take-out packaging has been especially strong around the Bay Area, and now Monterey has passed a ban of its own.

The new ordinance was approved by the city council, and passed the first of two public readings. Final approval came Feb. 17 at the proposal's second reading. Operators will have six months from the date the ordinance is signed into law to switch to approved recyclable, biodegradable or compostable products.

You'll still be able to use hard polystyrene if it's recyclable (plastics usually numbered 1-5), and if the city deems there's no “affordable” alternative to the packaging you use, “affordable” meaning a cost increase of no more than 15%. In that case, you may get a one-year exemption if the added cost causes your business an undue hardship. Foods packaged outside the city but sold inside city limits also are exempt unless they're served at special events.

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