Foodservice Equipment Reports Fortnightly

Welcome to FER Fortnightly Online Newsletter
August 11, 2009

Economic Report:
Sponsored by:
Food & Hotel Vietnam 2009
FER Forecasts E&S Market To Shrink
MAFSI Business Barometer Falls 12.8% In Q2
NRA Restaurant Performance Index Falls Again In June
Job Losses,Unemployment Rate Dip

Industry Report:
Sponsored by:
Server Products
Yum! Scores In India
CKE Unveils Five-Year Expansion Plan
Pizza Inn Rolls Out Franchisee Stimulus
Chick-fil-A Ramps Up Openings
Starbucks Makes New Name For Itself

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In This Section:
U.S. House Food-Safety Bill Fails, Then Passes
Albany Mulls County Calorie Counts
Pennsylvania Wants State Food-Safety Standard
Increased Deduction For Meals Proposed

This issue's Economic ReportSponsor: Food & Hotel Vietnam 2009 
Industry Report Sponsor: Server Products 
Regulatory Report Manitowoc Foodservice

U.S. House Food-Safety Bill Fails, Then Passes

As if succumbing to a short-lived foodborne illness and then recovering, the food-safety bill making its way through the U.S. House failed one vote in July, but passed a day later.

If it becomes law, the bill would provide funding for more Food and Drug Administration oversight of food-processing facilities. According to government sources, a new $500 fee per facility (capped at $175,000 for large processors with multiple facilities) could raise about $1.5 billion over five years, or 40% of the cost to implement the bill's provisions.

In addition the bill would give the FDA the responsibility and authority to increase inspections of food processing facilities, particularly those with spotty records and/or those handling more susceptible foods. The bill also would provide the FDA with subpoena power, the ability to declare mandatory recalls and regional quarantines.

The bill was initially defeated as a parliamentary matter due to a fast-tracking procedure that required a two-thirds majority vote for passage. When the bill was reintroduced for a vote the following day under normal procedures, it received the required simple majority votes to pass.

The Senate won't bring its version to the floor for a vote until after the August recess.


Section sponsored by Manitowoc Foodservice

Albany Mulls County Calorie Counts
Lawmakers in Albany, N.Y., are voting on legislation to make restaurants post calorie counts—in the county, not the state. While the New York State Restaurant Association has advocated a state-wide law, or preferably a federal law, Albany County officials are following the lead of New York City and Westchester, Suffolk and Ulster Counties.

The proposed ordinance, passed by a county legislative committee on health, would require chains with 15 or more stores to post calorie counts on menus and menu boards. The full legislature was due to vote on the measure yesterday.

Section sponsored by Manitowoc Foodservice

Pennsylvania Wants State Food-Safety Standard
The Pennsylvania House of Representatives passed a bill in June that would standardize the food code and restaurant inspections statewide.

Currently, about 190 local and county agencies license and inspect restaurants in the state. House Bill 174 would still leave licensing and inspections where they are, but would require everyone to play off the same song sheet.

Lawmakers want all state, county and municipal health inspectors to use a state food code based on the latest version of the Food and Drug Administration's Model Food Code. The state agriculture department would keep local agencies informed of updates and changes. In turn, the locals would have to report to the state.

Restaurants would have to meet the state standards to get a license, and all restaurants would have to have a certified food-safety supervisor on site during all shifts. Employees also would be required to pass an accredited food-safety certification course within 90 days of starting on the job. The bill would eliminate mandatory annual inspections in favor of focusing on facilities that pose a greater risk, though the state would require inspectors available for all shifts at food facilities, including restaurants.

The Senate version of the bill has been referred to the agriculture and rural affairs committee.

Section sponsored by Manitowoc Foodservice

Increased Deduction For Meals Proposed
A proposed increase in the business-meal deduction may not put a martini, let alone three, back on the business-lunch menu, but it has the National Restaurant Association raising a glass in an anticipatory toast.

U.S. Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii) introduced legislation in late July that would raise the federal tax deduction for business-related meals to 80% from the 50% level it's been at since since 1993. Increasing the tax deduction to 80% could boost business-meal sales by $6 billion a year and create an $18 billion increase to the overall economy, according to the NRA.

About 13 million people work in the restaurant industry, according to NRA data, and for every $1 million in foodservice sales each year, 33 jobs are created elsewhere in the economy.

The last time business meals in restaurants were 100% deductible was '86.

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