Foodservice Equipment Reports Fortnightly
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Welcome to FER Fortnightly Online Newsletter
June 30, 2009








Economic Report:
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Early-Bird Deal Extended For FER Forecast Seminar
Have Food Prices Reached Bottom?
NRA Touts Summer-Employment Growth
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Food&HotelVietnam2009
Brinker Expands Into India
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In This Section:
San Joaquin Delays Charbroiler Rules
Food Safety Bill Safe, With Changes
Lawmakers Devise Recipe For LEAN MEAL…
…Just In Time As Maine, Others, Whip Up Rules…
…Making Times Extra Tough For Maine Smokers

This issue's Economic ReportSponsor: FER E&S Market Forecast Meetings 
Industry Report Sponsor: Food&HotelVietnam2009 
Regulatory Report Manitowoc Foodservice

San Joaquin Delays Charbroiler Rules

Once again, you can’t say we didn’t warn you. Last issue, we alerted you to weigh in on charbroiler emission rules in Southern California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District unless you want to accept whatever gets put in place. Now’s your chance to do likewise in the San Joaquin Valley area.

At its mid-June board meeting, the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District decided it had heard enough questions from restaurant owners about its new charbroiler emission rules to warrant postponing their adoption. Not many restaurants participated in the public hearing process, according to district director Seyed Sadredin, but the ones who did were voicing concerns.

Like SoCal’s proposed rules, similar to those already adopted by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, SJVAPCD’s amended regulations will include under-fired charbroilers along with chain-driven units. Restaurants cooking more than 800 lbs. of beef per week would have to install some type of pollution control device—anything from catalytic oxidizers to HEPA filters and electrostatic precipitators—to limit emission of volatile organic compounds and particulates.

The board delayed adoption of the amended rules until its August meeting, and will likely hold more public hearings in the interim. For more information go to www.valleyair.org or call one of the group’s regional offices.

 

 

Section sponsored by Manitowoc Foodservice

Food Safety Bill Safe, With Changes

The Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009 made it safely out of a House committee recently after committee members agreed to some compromises.

Industry groups indicated they were satisfied that the House Energy and Commerce Committee had addressed major beefs with the bill.

Among compromises: Committee members agreed to lower registration fees to pay for the new programs to $500, from the previously suggested $1,000, and to cap fees at $175,000, according to the Grocery Manufacturers Association.

Meat and poultry processors, meanwhile, were pleased that changes in the proposal meant their operations, already under the purview of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, wouldn’t be subject to added inspections by the Food and Drug Administration under the compromise. Another plus for food processors—the revised bill also would give them flexibility in designing food safety programs.

Restaurants and groups such as the National Restaurant Association had expressed concern that they would be forced to follow FDA food-safety directives aimed primarily at large processors. The change in the bill would allow both restaurants and food processors to design food-safety programs that best fit their operations.




Section sponsored by Manitowoc Foodservice

Lawmakers Devise Recipe For LEAN MEAL…

In another magnanimous display of compromise, legislators in Washington, D.C.,  agreed to combine two nutrition-labeling bills into a single fat-fighting menu item. Backers of the Labeling Education and Nutrition Act and the Menu Education and Labeling Act got together to mix up a new recipe for giving chain customers nutrition information that can help inform their menu choices.

The foodservice industry has supported LEAN, which would have required chains to post nutrition information in plain sight but not put calorie counts on menus and menu boards. MEAL, on the other hand, would have made chains post information such as fat and sodium content in addition to calories.

Under the blended compromise, chains with 20 stores or more nationally will be required to post calorie counts on menus and menu boards and make a print version of other nutritional info such as fat, cholesterol, carbohydrates and sodium, available upon request by customers.

In addition to those compromises, MEAL Act backers agreed to drop language that would have allowed local jurisdictions to impose stricter menu labeling rules.

The National Restaurant Association and several large chains say they support the proposed legislation.

 


Section sponsored by Manitowoc Foodservice

…Just In Time As Maine, Others, Whip Up Rules…

Not content to sit still while D.C. dithers, other localities are still pushing calorie-counting legislation of their own. Maine governor John Baldacci signed a bill there in mid-June requiring chain restaurants with 20 or more units nationwide to post calorie counts alongside menu items starting in February 2011. The law exempts grocery stores, hotels and movie theaters. Restaurants don’t have to post counts for salad bars or specials on the menu for 90 days or less.

Elsewhere, a legislator in Nassau County, N.Y., has proposed a menu labeling bill there that would require chains with 15 or more units to post calorie counts on menus and menu boards, including drive-throughs. Suffolk County has a similar proposal on the books that’s due for a vote in September.

 


Section sponsored by Manitowoc Foodservice

…Making Times Extra Tough For Maine Smokers

As if going cold turkey isn’t hard enough, smokers in Maine now face a double-whammy. The state just passed an amended Clean Air Act that bans smoking on outdoor restaurant patios and dining areas. As the restrictions go into place, and more smokers try to quit and face the likelihood of gaining weight when they do, the new calorie-counting law will kick in, reminding them of all the things they shouldn’t eat.

Separately, a smoking ban in Corpus Christi, Tex., just went into effect prohibiting smoking in bars, nightclubs, bowling alleys and pool halls. Violators are subject to fines up to $2,000, but the city says it will rely on public complaints more than the seven inspectors assigned to enforcement to police the ban.




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