Foodservice Equipment Reports Fortnightly

Welcome to FER Fortnightly Online Newsletter
May 17, 2005

Economic Report:
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Road to Anaheim.

MAFSI Business Barometer Posts 2.7% Rise In First Quarter
Eating And Drinking Place Sales Gain In April; Several Macro Factors Improve
Bad News Catches Up withBlue Chip Forecasts

Industry Report:
Sponsored by: Cold Innovations

Enodis, Halton To Build Kitchens Of The Future
Meet The New Sibs: Brass Smith + Kevry
FER Takes Design Award
Strategic Honored By Red Robin
Jarvis Steps Up As New Steritech Prez
CFESA Debuts Interactive CD-ROM

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In This Section:
Detroit Mulls Fast-Food Tax
Colorado Gov Vetoes Energy Efficiency Bill
Menu Labeling Legislation Update
Alaska Finalizing Draft Of New Food Code

This issue's Economic ReportSponsor: Road to Anaheim |  Industry ReportSponsor: Cold Innovations

Regulatory Report Sponsored by APW Wyott Innovations

Detroit Mulls Fast-Food Tax
Awright, regulate this: Faced with a $300 million budget deficit, Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick has proposed helping bridge part of the gap with a 2% city tax on fast food. This would be on top of the 6% state sales tax already imposed on restaurant meals.

The mayor says that customers would barely notice the extra cents charged, but critics say the tax would unfairly burden the poor and slow economic development.

The exact meaning of "fast-food restaurant" is still being worked out, according to a spokesman from the mayor's office. According to one definition provided, the law would target counter-service restaurants, where you pay for the food before eating.

"[Two percent] is a small amount for the individual customer, but it adds up to a meaningful amount to preserve essential city services," Mayor Kilpatrick wrote in his budget statement. If passed, the tax is expected to generate up to $17 million for city coffers.

The proposed tax would need both state legislature and city voter approval in order to be implemented.

The Michigan Restaurant Association opposes the proposal and notes it would be extremely difficult to get Detroit voters to approve the measure and equally difficult to categorize "fast food."


Section sponsored by APW Wyott Innovations

Colorado Gov Vetoes Energy Efficiency Bill
Colorado has opted for a hands-off, free-market approach when it comes to energy efficient equipment. Gov. Bill Owens at the end of April vetoed House Bill 1162, which would have mandated minimum energy efficiency standards for 14 appliances and devices sold in the state.

The standards would have taken effect in 2010. Products that would have been affected include commercial refrigerators and freezers, large air conditioning units and pre-rinse spray valves, to name a few.

"The bill creates the potential for a national patchwork of standards, since the same products covered by this bill in Colorado may see different standards applied in different states," Gov. Owens wrote in a letter explaining his veto decision.

"Energy efficiency standards for products should be dealt with by federal guidelines to maintain free-flowing commerce for consumers -- regardless of the state."

The veto is unlikely to be overridden because it would take a two-thirds majority vote of both the House and Senate.

Currently only four states have adopted laws that surpass federal energy efficiency standards: California, Connecticut, Maryland and New Jersey. Washington is considering a bill that matches California's.

Section sponsored by APW Wyott Innovations

Menu Labeling Legislation Update
Twelve states put menu-labeling bills on their legislative agenda this year. But lawmakers introducing the bills are learning that trying to combat obesity through legislation—at least by putting nutrition information on menus—isn't a slam-dunk.

Proposed bills in five of the 12 states—California, Maine, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania—are either holdovers or reintroduced from last year. Bills in California and Maine were already defeated once. New Jersey's bill had been tabled until after the November elections. Bills in New York and Pennsylvania are still pending. Menu labeling was defeated in Arkansas.

Seven other states—Arkansas, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Vermont and West Virginia—introduced similar legislation this year.

In Hawaii, the House Health Committee amended proposed legislation to require restaurants to have nutrition information "on hand" but not necessarily posted on menu boards. Illinois, meanwhile, amended its menu labeling bill to require restaurants only to post a sign saying some foods may be high in fat, calories and sodium rather than posting complete nutrition information. The amended bill passed the house and is in committee. And West Virginia's bill, which would create an "Office of Healthy Lifestyles," passed the House, minus the volunteer menu labeling language in the original.

Bills in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont are still pending.

Section sponsored by APW Wyott Innovations

Alaska Finalizing Draft Of New Food Code
Alaska's Department of Environmental Conservation is in the process of developing a final draft of a new food code. The draft likely won't be finished until mid-June. Because state legislators wrapped up the 2005 session this month, the proposed code will be submitted to a special legislative committee for approval. If approved, the new code will take effect immediately, with enforcement phased in over the next year.

Operators are concerned about what the final draft will contain, according to Dale Fox, executive director of the Alaska Cabaret, Hotel, Restaurant and Retailers Association. The draft submitted for public comment had provisions that would put an undue burden on many businesses.

One proposed provision, for example, would require newly hired employees to have a food handler'
s card within 30 days of hiring. In many rural areas, however, food safety classes like ServSafe are available only once every six months or less. To send an employee from a remote area to an urban center for training can cost hundreds of dollars.

Fox says he hopes DEC will incorporate many of the suggestions from CHARR and other groups. "There are a lot of good provisions in the code, too," he says, "like requiring a ServSafe-trained manager on site. We'd hate to throw the baby out with the bath water."

If the legislative committee rejects the final draft, the DEC will have to get new authorization from the next legislative session to change the food code.

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