Foodservice Equipment Reports Fortnightly

Welcome to FER Fortnightly Online Newsletter
June 16, 2009

Economic Report:
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Most Economists Think Worst Is Over But Recovery Will Be Slow
Menu-Price Increases Offsetting Falling Traffic
Food, Energy Prices Edge Up; Most Metals Prices Still Bottoming
Times Are Tough! Take Advantage Of The Early-Bird Deal OnFER's President's Preview Forecast Seminar

Industry Report:
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Server Products
Elevation Burger Spreading Wings
P.F. Chang's Expands To Mexico
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Industry Mourns Brinker Founder's Loss
Excell's Flores Passes

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In This Section:
SoCal Setting New Charbroiler Rules
Food-Safety Bill Foments Food Fight In D.C.
Legislators Add Water To Clean-Energy Mix
Maui Moves To Make Clamshells As Scarce As Clams
Calorie Counts On Menu In Oregon; Connecticut Next?
Kentucky To Update 30-Year-Old Food Code

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

SoCal Setting New Charbroiler Rules
As President John F. Kennedy once said, "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance."

So be vigilant. If you're a stakeholder in charbroilers in Southern California, you better mark your calendar for June 24, 2 p.m., at South Coast Air Quality Management District headquarters, 21865 Copley Dr., Diamond Bar, Calif., room CC3/5.

That's when and where the South Coast AQMD will be holding its third working-group meeting concerning amendments to Rule 1138, "Emissions Reductions from Restaurant Operations."

The main thrust of the newly proposed South Coast amendments is to extend existing charbroiler rules to a broader group. South Coast currently requires catalytic oxidizers or similar for chain-drive charbroilers in restaurants that buy/produce certain volumes of beef in the charbroiler. The newly proposed amendment would extend that requirement to all underfired charbroilers, not just chain-drives, meeting those production-volume definitions.

The effect would be similar to charbroiler emissions requirements passed more than a year ago by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

As always, language and details can make a huge difference in how a regulation works or doesn't work, and SCAQMD needs your input. For more information or to register for the meeting, contact Pamela Perryman at 909/396-3103 or e-mail her at Conference-call attendance will be available.


Section sponsored by Manitowoc Foodservice

Food-Safety Bill Foments Food Fight In D.C.
Food-industry groups including the National Restaurant Association, National Cattlemen's Beef Association, Grocery Manufacturers Association and others are getting ready to sling some hash in Washington—not for lawmakers, but at them.

The ruckus is over the latest food-safety bill to come out of committee on Capitol Hill, the Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009. Released late last month by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the draft legislation is a conglomeration of several food-safety bills introduced earlier this year. The core of the proposed law is that it would expand the scope and authority of the Food and Drug Administration over the nation's food supply. If passed, the bill would give the FDA the resources and authority to specify minimum requirements for food-safety plans; require safety plans for fresh produce; increase inspections of food facilities; improve the "traceability" of food; and issue mandatory recalls of tainted food, among other powers.

All of which sounds good enough, but different groups have different objections to how the proposed law could impact the food industry.

The beef at the NCBA, for example, is a jurisdictional dispute about the FDA taking over what have been U.S. Department of Agriculture responsibilities and the imposition of mandatory rather than voluntary recalls. The GMA, on the other hand, is protesting mandatory annual fees of $1,000 to support the FDA's new responsibilities as well as the likelihood of increased inspections.

Restaurateurs, however, may face the greatest impact. In addition to facing a new annual fee, operators would find themselves lumped in with and treated like major food-processing facilities. Of particular concern are the provisions of the bill dealing with traceability. Restaurants would have to keep records of every shipment they receive from suppliers for three years in an FDA-specified standardized electronic format. Violators would be subject to fines of as much as $100,000 per day. Restaurant owners also would have to report any potential safety issue with a food item within 24 hours, and disclose all potential allergens—deemed "adulterants" in the bill—in food they prepare or face up to10 years in jail.

Section sponsored by Manitowoc Foodservice

Legislators Add Water To Clean-Energy Mix
Maybe a few lawmakers in D.C. have read "The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner." Water efficiency has finally been added to the mix of climate-change legislation now being pushed in Washington. In late May, the House Energy and Commerce Committee accepted a proposal to include the Water Advanced Technologies for Efficient Resource Use Act. The WATER Act, as it's acronymically known, is an amendment to the Waxman-Markey climate bill.

While Waxman-Markey addresses sweeping changes in energy policy such as a cap-and-trade carbon-emissions program and energy-efficiency targets, programs relating to water conservation until now have been neglected. The WATER Act, HR 2368, is a water-efficiency bill that encourages adoption of water-efficient products and services through incentive and rebate programs.

A drop in the bucket compared to the cost of the overall climate-change bill, HR 2368 provides $50 million for state and local rebate programs and would make the Environmental Protection Agency's WaterSense program permanent.

Section sponsored by Manitowoc Foodservice

Maui Moves To Make Clamshells As Scarce As Clams
You won't find a lot of clams in Hawaii, but you will find a lot of polystyrene-foam clamshells. A member of the Maui County Council hopes to change that. Pointing out that the county landfill on the island will be full in 15 years, Councilman Mike Victorino introduced an ordinance that would ban most polystyrene-foam packaging.

The ordinance would outlaw all foam packaging for food except supermarket meat trays and rigid-foam coolers. Restaurants and other foodservice facilities would have to use biodegradable or recyclable packaging. Victorino said he wants the ordinance to take effect in January 2011, to coincide with the effective date of a ban on plastic bags recently approved by the council.

Section sponsored by Manitowoc Foodservice

Calorie Counts On Menu In Oregon; Connecticut Next?
Oregon became the third state to mandate calorie counts on menus and menu boards in early June. The state Senate ratified a House bill, which also covers drive-through signage, in a 21-7 vote. The governor said he'll sign the bill into law.

The law will require chains with 15 or more units nationwide to list calories next to standard menu items on menus and menu boards. Stores also will need to provide a nutrition statement listing total grams of saturated fat, trans fat, carbohydrates, and milligrams of sodium available upon request.

The new law is to take effect Jan. 1, 2011, and will affect about 180 companies with stores in the

Meanwhile, Connecticut's House passed a state Senate bill requiring calorie counts on menus in early June (FER Fortnightly, May 21), but Governor M. Jodi Rell has not said whether she'll sign it. If she does, the law will take effect in January '11.

Section sponsored by Manitowoc Foodservice

Kentucky To Update 30-Year-Old Food Code
Maybe all those mint juleps make things seem less urgent in the Bluegrass State. In any event, Kentucky last month updated a state food code that had stood 30 years.

The state adopted the 2005 Food and Drug Administration Model Food Code with only a few minor differences. Changes that restaurants may have to pay special attention to are revised cold-storage temps (41°F or less, down from the old 45°F or lower); a requirement to have a "food protection manager" on site certified by demonstrated proficiency on either a local health department or accredited third-party test; some new mobile food unit rules; and a new hand-washing requirement that allows employees bare-hand contact with ready-to-eat food as long as they're not serving a highly susceptible population and the facility has written hand-washing rules in place.

Okay, back to your mint julep.

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