Foodservice Equipment Reports Fortnightly
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Welcome to FER Fortnightly Online Newsletter
July 3, 2007








Economic Report:
Sponsored by:
Manitowoc Foodservice Group
July 6 Early Deadline For FER President's Preview Forecast Meeting
Technomic Revises Forecasts Upward At 'Restaurant Trends' Meet
McDonald's Grows Robustly, Plans Faster Openings

Industry Report:
Sponsored by:
Server Products
Upgraded Data Protocol Now Lets POS Talk To Kitchen Equipment
R.W. Smith & Co. Donates $10,000 To Road To Atlanta Charity Ride
Wendy's, Applebee's Consider Selling; Friendly Does
TGI Friday's Says Smaller Portions To Show Profits



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In This Section:
Lawsuit Stalls NYC Menu Board Makeover
Michigan Eyes Tougher Food Code
NRA Expresses Concern About Biofuels
New Food Code In Effect In Western Illinois

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

Lawsuit Stalls NYC Menu Board Makeover
The deadline for posting calorie counts on your menu boards in New York City came and went two days ago (July 1). But don't worry—health department inspectors won't be showing up anytime soon.

Quick service restaurants in the Big Apple got an eleventh-hour reprieve from the city health department's ordinance, passed last December, when the New York State Restaurant Association filed a lawsuit against the city last month, saying the new ordinance unfairly targets fast food restaurants.

"Ironically," said NYSRA president Rick Sampson, "the only restaurants subject to this regulation are those that were already voluntarily providing nutritional information. So essentially, New York City is punishing businesses that are doing the right thing. Only in the world of bureaucracy could this possibly make any sense."

The ordinance requires only operators with standard portion sizes, and only those who publicly disclose nutrition information, to post calorie counts on menu boards and/or menus as prominently as the prices are posted. The city gave an out to chains that stopped providing nutrition information by March 1, and several took it, including Quiznos, Wendy's and White Castle. Other franchisees said they planned to defy the ordinance.

McDonald's told the city its 254 NYC stores are unable to comply with the new rule. The chain said it's discussing alternatives with the health department and is focusing on the Oct. 1 enforcement deadline, "pending the outcome of legal action" as a possible target date to comply.

The city's health department said even though the rule now is officially on the books, it won't ask inspectors to enforce it for three months while lawyers sort out the arguments they'll make in court. NYSRA is challenging the department's authority to pass the ordinance on the legal bases of first amendment abrogation and federal pre-emption.

 

Section sponsored by Delfield Co./Enodis

Michigan Eyes Tougher Food Code
Prompted in part by 145 recorded norovirus outbreaks that accounted for more than 5,000 people sickened in Michigan last year, state legislators want to bring the state's food code more in line with the FDA Model Food Code. Lawmakers in both the state's house and senate introduced bills last month to tighten food safety rules.

Changes would require you to have a certified food safety manager on duty at all times, tighten bare hand food contact rules, and clarify when sick employees can come back to work. New rules would make employees with diarrhea stay home until 24 hours after symptoms are gone. Employees with norovirus would have to get permission from health departments and wait 48 hours after symptoms are gone to go back to work.


Section sponsored by Delfield Co./Enodis

NRA Expresses Concern About Biofuels
Worried about higher food costs? So is the National Restaurant Association. The group recently sent a letter of concern to the U.S. Senate about the nation's biofuels policies. The NRA said the unintended consequence of a Senate bill to encourage development of renewable fuel sources could be higher food costs.

Emphasis on production of ethanol from corn, the NRA said, may not only result in food price distortions but also diminish the supply of soybeans and other crops that the foodservice industry is relying on for trans fat-free oil alternatives.

The letter, specifically addressed to Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), also emphasizes using recyclable restaurant oil in biodiesel and other alternatives. To read a copy, click on www.restaurant.org/government/comments/20070613_biofuels_senate_ltr.pdf.


Section sponsored by Delfield Co./Enodis

New Food Code In Effect In Western Illinois
Warren County, Ill., put its first food safety ordinance into effect on July 1. Approved by the county just two weeks ago, the County Health Department's new food code is patterned after the FDA Model Food Code.

If you're doing business in the county, in rural western Illinois and centered on the town of Monmouth (west of Galesburg and north of McComb), you now have to apply for a permit with the health department. Permit costs depend on whether you have a Class I, II, or III facility.

To find out more about the new ordinance and how to apply for permits, call the health department at 309/734-1314.




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