Foodservice Equipment Reports Fortnightly

Welcome to FER Fortnightly Online Newsletter
May 21, 2009

Economic Report:
Sponsored by:
Heard In The Aisles At NRA Show: Is -30% Or Flat The New 'Up'?1
Public E&S Companies Fare Better Than Expected In Q1
Traffic Falls 1.5% In Winter Quarter, But Trend Improving
Economists See Some Light Beginning To Shine

Industry Report:
Sponsored by:
Server Products
Manitowoc Completes Sale Of Enodis Ice
NRA Taps EPA For Water, Energy Savings Program
ASHFSA, HFM Approve Formation Of AHF
McCafe Openings Continue Apace
Asbury Foodservice Adds Industry Veteran Hodge

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In This Section:
ASTM Looking For Input On New Test Standards
Maryland, D.C. Compare Notes On Carryout-Bag Tax
Massachusetts Tells Chains To Count Calories; Connecticut May Follow. ...
... While Congress Debates Best Acronym

This issue's Economic ReportSponsor: FETCO Corp. 
Industry Report Sponsor: Server Products 
Regulatory Report Manitowoc Foodservice

ASTM Looking For Input On New Test Standards
If you're an operator or manufacturer looking for a way to help steer the future of the industry, here's your chance. ASTM Int'l. task groups are developing new test standards for seven categories of equipment, and the groups are soliciting input.

Hot Food Holding Tables—This standard is ready to go to ballot imminently. If you'd like to offer suggestions, contact Task Group Chairman Rex Brandt, Taylor Company, at

Ventless (self-contained) Ventilation Hoods—This one is going to ballot soon too. Contact Chairman Rich Swierzcyna, Architectural Energy Corp.,

Charbroilers—Contact Chairman Dean Stanley, AccuTemp Products,

Cold Food Counters—Contact Chairman Thomas Finck, RTF Manufacturing, at

Combination Ovens—This existing standard is being revised. Contact Dave Zabrowski at Fisher-Nickel Inc., PG&E's Food Service Technology Center,

Induction Cooktops—Contact Chairman Reinhard Metz, CookTek, at

Milk Dispensers—Contact Chairman Rex Brandt, Taylor Company, at

And for helping set definitions for the categories, please contact Rebecca Duff, ICF Int'l., at


Section sponsored by Manitowoc Foodservice

Maryland, D.C. Compare Notes On Carryout-Bag Tax
Legislators in Maryland and the District of Columbia have compared notes in drafting similar proposals that would tax the bags retailers offer their customers.

Affecting all retailers, including foodservice operators and grocery stores, the new laws would impose a five-cent tax on all bags—both plastic and paper—except reusable totes.

While other cities have banned or taxed plastic bags to encourage use of reusable bags or recyclable paper, this is the first coordinated attempt to tax all so-called carryout bags. Lawmakers say that to help operators and retailers pay for the increased cost of collecting the tax and purchasing more environmentally friendly paper bags (even though paper also will be taxed), they'll refund a penny back to retailers (two cents if they have a bag credit program) and spend the rest on watershed cleanup programs.

If passed, the tax would be effective Oct.1.

Section sponsored by Manitowoc Foodservice

Massachusetts Tells Chains To Count Calories; Connecticut May Follow. ...
Confused yet? By now you've figured out that you'll need a lot of new menu boards in the coming few years. But, as they say, the devil is in the details.

Massachusetts imposed new rules in early May that will require chains with 20 or more units within the state to post calorie counts on menus and menu boards, including in drive-throughs, by November 2010.

The state's Public Health Council is the latest legislative body to mandate posted calorie counts in restaurants, making Massachusetts the second to enact such rules statewide. The first was California, which exempts drive-through boards.

"This is a major step in the right direction in fighting the obesity epidemic in our state," Public Health Commissioner John Auerbach said in a statement. While the Massachusetts law is more stringent in including drive-through boards, it's less stringent than in some other places in that it requires listing only calorie counts. Rules elsewhere, such as King County, Wash., also require chains to post additional nutrition information such as fat, carbohydrate and sodium content near menu boards or in menu inserts.

Following close behind nearby Massachusetts, Connecticut meanwhile is considering a calorie-count law of its own. The proposed bill, which recently passed a committee vote on the way to the state Senate floor, would make chains post calorie counts by July '10 on menu boards and menus. But the legislature there defines chains as companies having 15 or more stores nationwide.

Section sponsored by Manitowoc Foodservice

... While Congress Debates Best Acronym
If state-by-state variances aren't enough confusion, proponents of a federal law that would resolve the issue once and for all now have two factions in the U.S. Congress to contend with, both fighting over who has the cooler acronym.

Earlier this month, Sen. Tom Harkin and Rep. Rose DeLauro reintroduced House and Senate versions of the Menu Education and Labeling Act (originally proposed in 2007). The MEAL bills would require chains with 20 or more units nationwide to post calorie counts on menu boards, but also provide saturated and trans fat, carbohydrate, and sodium content on printed menus or "statement adjacent to the name of the standard menu item."

The act would only apply to standard menu items and would exempt daily specials and promotional menu items with limited availability of 30 days or less.

MEAL now competes with the Labeling Education and Nutrition Act, or LEAN Act, introduced in both the House and Senate in March and supported by the National Restaurant Association. LEAN differs from MEAL in that chains would only have to make additional nutritional information available to customers upon request, and the exemption for promo items would extend to 90 days.

In both cases, federal law would supersede state and local laws, which proponents say would help clear up confusion about what information is required where.

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