Foodservice Equipment Reports Fortnightly

Welcome to FER Fortnightly Online Newsletter
April 7, 2009

Economic Report:
Sponsored by:
Commodities Prices Continue Decline Even As Stainless Suppliers Try To Raise Prices
NRA Performance Index Mainly Flat In February
Consumer Confidence, Spending Up Slightly
Newly Revised FER E&S Market Forecast Available

Industry Report:
Sponsored by:
HOFEX 2009
Manitowoc Sells Enodis Ice, Elevates Karssiens
Chili's To Open In Turkey, Brinker Shifts Management
BK New-Unit Growth Up 19%
CRFA Names O'Reilly Chairwoman
MAFSI Marks Its 60th Year

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In This Section:
California, Vermont Limiting Lead In Pipes
National LEAN Law Gaining Momentum
New Bills Mean FEASTing On Safer Food
B.C. First Province To Ban Trans Fat
Utah Relaxes Bar Lawst

This issue's Economic ReportSponsor: Food&HotelVietnam2009 
Industry Report Sponsor: HOFEX 2009 
Regulatory Report Manitowoc Foodservice

California, Vermont Limiting Lead In Pipes
Just a reminder for anyone who'll be buying plumbing components for stores in California or Vermont next year: Both states have passed new laws that define and limit the amount of lead allowed in pipes, plumbing fittings and fixtures that contact potable water.

Effective Jan. 1, 2010, plumbing-supply manufacturers and sales outlets won't be able to sell pipes and plumbing supplies in those states unless they meet the new definitions of "lead-free"—which aren't literally down to zero lead, but they're vastly reduced.

The California law, passed in 2006 and then delayed during complicated review, sets a new weighted-average content of not more than 0.25% lead in pipes, fittings and fixtures. The law uses a formula calculating the weighted average of the wetted surface area of pipes and fittings. The old limit was 8% lead in pipes and 4% in fixtures and fittings by dry weight.

Vermont's new law is similar in its intent.

Some manufacturers have already achieved the new standards. Be sure to check with your suppliers as you move forward, and keep an eye on materials to be installed at your sites.


Section sponsored by Manitowoc Foodservice

National LEAN Law Gaining Momentum
With the U.S. Congress tabling the Labeling Education and Nutrition Act last year, jurisdictions have continued to climb all over each other to fill the legislative void on calorie-posting requirements. In the process, the potential for confusion and conflict has spread willy-nilly.

Nashville, Tenn., for example, recently passed its own ordinance even while Tennessee's state legislature considered one. Nationwide, calorie-posting legislation has been enacted or is being considered in more than 30 states, counties and cities.

Fortunately the LEAN Act was reintroduced in both chambers of Congress last month, and the National Restaurant Association is among several industry bodies pushing hard for passage.

LEAN would set national standards for nutrition labeling on menus, menu boards and/or other types of signage at national chains with 20 or more stores. As currently proposed, it would require the information to be available at or prior to point-of-purchase but allow some flexibility as to exactly how it is posted. In addition, it would supersede existing labeling laws and prohibit jurisdictions from passing more stringent requirements in the future.

State restaurant associations in Maryland, Indiana and elsewhere are lobbying state lawmakers to wait until Congress has a chance to reconsider LEAN. The proposed national standard was introduced by Sens. Tom Carper, D-Del., and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, last September.

Section sponsored by Manitowoc Foodservice

New Bills Mean FEASTing On Safer Food
Don't look now, but two bills before the U.S. Congress just might streamline and improve the nation's food-safety program.

In early March, the Food and Drug Administration Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009 was introduced in the U.S. Senate. The bill would give the FDA the ability to conduct more frequent food safety inspections, access food-facility records more easily and issue and enforce product recalls. The Senate wants to give the FDA more funds and resources to detect and prevent foodborne illnesses like the recent Salmonella outbreak in peanut products.

Days after the act was introduced, representatives in the U.S. House reintroduced a similar bill called the Safe Food Enforcement, Assessment, Standards and Targeting Act. The FEAST Act would give the FDA wider authority over food safety, including regulatory authority to recall contaminated food.

Meanwhile, the Obama Administration has nominated a former New York City health commissioner, Dr. Margaret Hamburg, to head the FDA. Hamburg would likely increase the FDA's focus on food safety.

Section sponsored by Manitowoc Foodservice

B.C. First Province To Ban Trans Fat
British Columbia's provincial government has become the first in Canada to officially ban artificially produced trans fat from food prepared and sold there in foodservice facilities. Part of the province's new Public Health Act, the ban takes effect Sept. 30.

The new law restricts trans-fat content of fats and oils to no more than 2%, and it restricts content in baked goods and all other foods to no more than 5% of total fat. Packaged foods, which are regulated separately, are exempt.

Some Canadian cities, like Calgary, have imposed ordinances or voluntary trans-fat bans, but British Columbia is the first to enact enforceable regulation province-wide. Fines for noncompliance, though, haven't yet been set. Minister of Healthy Living and Sport Mary Polak said the new regulation's timing, before the 2010 Winter Olympics, is perfect.

Section sponsored by Manitowoc Foodservice

Utah Relaxes Bar Laws
Utah's "private clubs" are history. State lawmakers last month revised liquor laws that required bar patrons to fill out an application and pay a fee before ordering a drink. From now on, bartenders will be able to serve drinks across the bar, but they'll still have to mix cocktails out of sight of children.

The compromise law, hammered out in lengthy negotiations among lawmakers and representatives of the restaurant/hospitality industry and the Church of Latter Day Saints, does away with the arcane club system in favor of stricter Driving Under the Influence laws. In exchange for eliminating the private club system, new laws require restaurants and bars to scan driver's licenses of all patrons who appear younger than age 35. Operators will have to keep the scan data on file for seven days.

Restaurants and bars can continue to remain private clubs if they wish. Some owners say the membership-and-dues system is a good way to screen clientele, but most see the new law as a boon to tourism and foodservice sales.

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