Foodservice Equipment Reports Fortnightly
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Welcome to FER Fortnightly Online Newsletter
May 4, 2010








Economic Report:
Sponsored by:
Henny Penny
NRA Performance Index Signals End Of Great Foodservice Recession
E&S List Prices Barely Budged Last Six Months, AutoQuotes Reports
MAFSI Barometer Sales Numbers Still Negative, But Less So
State Tax Revenues Posted Fifth Straight Decline In 4Q 2009
Technomic Top 500 Now Available

Industry Report:
Sponsored by:
Server Products
Wendy's/Arby's Creates E&S Sourcing Co-op
CKE Picks New Merger Deal
Chick-fil-A Plans 78 Units, Will Debut In Chicago
Dunkin' Donuts To Add 17 Stores Across Florida
Manitowoc Named Energy Star Partner Of The Year
First-Ever AHF Conference Nears



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In This Section:
Food-Safety Bill Sidetracked By Financial Reform
Salt Comes Under Fire—Again
NRA Convenes On Public Affairs
Smoke Bans Set For Kansas, Michigan
NSF OK'd To Register Food-Safety Management Systems

This issue's Economic ReportSponsor: Henny Penny 
Industry Report Sponsor: Server Products 
Regulatory Report Manitowoc Foodservice

Food-Safety Bill Sidetracked By Financial Reform
Federal food-safety legislation has once again been bumped from the Senate's list of priorities. Despite predictions from key lawmakers that the Food Safety and Modernization Act would reach the Senate floor as soon as late April, action on the bill has been postponed.

The bill would step up Food and Drug Administration inspections and give the agency greater authority, much of which would be funded by new fees on food producers. The Act will now wait its turn as the Senate votes on five nominations and the contentious financial regulatory overhaul bill. Climate-change regulation and immigration reform are also simmering.

The House passed a food-safety bill last July. After the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee unanimously passed its version of the bill in November, the legislation ended up on a slow track to a full Senate vote. The National Restaurant Association favors the Senate bill over the House version. It says the latter includes provisions, dealing with traceability, record keeping, and reporting requirements through the Reportable Food Registry, which could carry administrative and compliance costs that potentially penalize operators without enhancing food safety.

Government attention to food safety comes after a long wait. According to a recent report issued by the Pew Charitable Trusts and Georgetown University, foodborne illnesses are costing the United States $152 billion in health-related expenses each year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 76 million Americans are sickened annually from foodborne diseases; approximately 5,000 cases are fatal.

Cases of six common food poisoning agents have dropped sharply since 1996, when the CDC created the Foodborne Disease Active Surveillance Network, better known as Foodnet, to track specific cases. In a report released last month, the CDC noted that the incidence of the most virulent infections—salmonella and E. coli—have fallen although infections from raw shellfish have risen.

More at www.cdc.gov/mmwr or www.cdc.gov/foodnet

 

Section sponsored by Manitowoc Foodservice

Salt Comes Under Fire—Again
While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is making it clear that it has no current plans to regulate nor limit the amount of salt in restaurant and packaged foods, a congressionally commissioned report issued in late April urged the agency to do so to reduce the risk of heart disease.

The average American consumes about 50% more salt than recommended, and decreasing its use could prevent 100,000 deaths a year from heart disease and strokes, according to the report by the nonprofit Institute of Medicine. Working with the food industry to cut salt intake by nearly 10% could prevent hundreds of thousands of heart attacks and strokes over several decades and save the U.S. government $32 billion in healthcare costs, the Institute claims.

Voluntary efforts by the food industry and government health officials have failed to curtail salt use by American consumers, the report said, saying that the vast majority of sodium comes from packaged food and restaurant meals. "For 40 years we have known about the relationship between sodium and the development of hypertension and other life threatening diseases, but we have had virtually no success in cutting back the salt in our diets," said the report.

In response to the report, the FDA issued a statement that it "is not currently working on regulations nor have they made a decision to regulate sodium content in foods at this time."

The National Restaurant Association chimed in as well. Scott DeFife, executive v.p. of policy and government affairs, affirmed the association's commitment to healthy dining and cited its collaborative efforts with suppliers and health organizations to address the issue. In a statement, Fife said, "The restaurant industry has been working for some time to reduce sodium in menu items, recognizing that in many restaurants across the country, the supply chain is critical to that effort. In an industry that incorporates a broad array of concepts and ethnic cuisines, tastes and expectations of food choices differ across the country and among cultures. It is important to recognize that sodium is essential to both the quality and food safety of menu items. While we support identifying options that provide lower sodium choices for customers, we cannot do so at the risk of food safety or quality issues."


Section sponsored by Manitowoc Foodservice

NRA Convenes On Public Affairs
Nearly 500 restaurateurs from across the nation met in Washington, D.C., April 14-16 to lobby lawmakers on critical legislative issues impacting the foodservice industry.

Operators attending the National Restaurant Association's 24th annual Public Affairs Conference carried a pro-business message to lawmakers on Capitol Hill, and addressed such initiatives as job creation, restaurant depreciation, business-meal deductibility and food safety.

Sally Smith, CEO of Minneapolis-based Buffalo Wild Wings and vice chairman of the NRA, encouraged operators to visit their lawmakers and talk with them about the difficulties of the restaurant business today. "We need officials to understand what we are up against," she told conference attendees. "This is an opportunity to make our voices heard. We need to bring our industry's perspective to Washington."

NRA Pres. and CEO Dawn Sweeney stressed the importance of strengthening existing relationships with members of Congress. She told operators that "engaging in the legislative process is more challenging than ever." Sweeney urged them to tell lawmakers that "excessive regulations can kill jobs and stunt growth."

Specifically, attendees were asked to contact their congressmen to co-sponsor the Building Star Energy Efficiency Rebate Act, a Senate bill which includes rebates and tax incentives allowing operators to conduct energy-efficient retrofits and upgrade the energy performance of commercial buildings.


Section sponsored by Manitowoc Foodservice

Smoke Bans Set For Kansas, Michigan
Michigan and Kansas are set to join a growing list of states banning smoking in all restaurants, bars and businesses, including hotels and motels. Since California passed its pioneering anti-smoking legislation 16 years ago, 30 states have followed suit.

Kansas Gov. Mark Parkinson will sign into law, and make effective July 1, a ban on smoking in restaurants, bars and other enclosed public and work places. The Kansas Restaurant & Hospitality Association did not fight the ban, citing that close to 70% of the state's restaurants are already non-smoking, either because of city or county ordinances or by operator choice.

In Michigan, the days leading up to the law's May 1 start date included widespread confusion over whether the law's enforcement was to come from state or local authorities. According to a report in the Detroit Free Press, the state was fielding hundreds of calls from owners of restaurants, pool halls, even hookah bars, looking for clarity on compliance. However, a spokesman for Michigan's community health department said that local health departments are likely to be the heavies enforcing the ban as a "complaint-based" component of restaurant inspections.

A smoking ban in Wisconsin kicks in July 5, and a ban in South Dakota is pending a November approval from voters. The U.S. Surgeon General estimates that nearly 50,000 Americans die each year from secondhand smoke exposure.


Section sponsored by Manitowoc Foodservice

NSF OK'd To Register Food-Safety Management Systems
NSF International has obtained ISO 22000 Food Safety Management Systems Registration accreditation from the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board. Now NSF, through its subsidiary NSF International Strategic Registrations, can register food-safety management systems for companies worldwide that demand in-place quality-assurance standards and systems to enhance their overall safety and quality efforts.

According to NSF, implementing ISO 22000 demonstrates a company's commitment to maintain food safety throughout the entire global supply chain. ISO 22000 was created to ensure proper and universally accepted food-safety procedures are being followed throughout the supply chain. It shares the same foundation with the universally accepted Quality Management Standard ISO 9001 but has a greater focus on food-safety management and incorporates HACCP principles.

Earning accreditation for ISO 22000 complements NSF's existing portfolio of food-safety management services, including certifications to the benchmarked standards of the Global Food Safety Initiative.
www.nsf.org/business/iso_22000/index.asp?program=ISO22000



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