Foodservice Equipment Reports Fortnightly

Welcome to FER Fortnightly Online Newsletter
August 31, 2004

Economic Report:
Sponsored by:
Atlas Metal Industries Inc.

Public E&S Companies Report Strong First Halves
Special Focus: Are E&S Sales Beginning to Stall?
U.S. Second-Quarter GDP Growth Revised Downward
Consumer Sentiment, Expectations Off Only Slightly In August
While International Forecasts Rise Slightly, Concerns Abound

Industry Report:
Sponsored by: Vollrath Co.

CNL To Acquire U.S. Restaurant Properties
Libbey To Move California Production To China
Double Check Your New York Show Plans
Book It! Seattle’s Best Coffee Pairs With Borders
If It’s November, It Must Be MAECO

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In This Section:
New Connecticut Code Hits Old Refrigeration
Galvanized Hoods Get Reprieve In Pennsylvania
FDA Food Code Marches On
Colorado Equipment Petitions Broaden Your Options
Baltimore County Mandates Food Safety Training
New Fax Law Faces Challenge

This issue's Economic Report
Sponsor: Atlas Metal Industries Inc. |  Industry ReportSponsor: Vollrath Co.

Regulatory ReportSponsored by ES3

New Connecticut Code Hits Old Refrigeration
Upcoming Food Code changes in Connecticut could impact refrigerators, cold beverage dispensers and hand sinks.

The first major overhaul to the state’s Food Code in 20 years, the proposed 2005 Connecticut Food Code is modeled on the FDA’s 2001 Food Code. The new code is expected to be adopted within the next 12 months, according to Jim Farrell, v.p. of operations for the Connecticut Restaurant Association.

The new regs, if approved as expected, affect at least three operational points. First, it will lower refrigeration holding temperature requirements to 41ºF from the current 45ºF. Operators will have five years from the date the code is adopted to comply.

The new code also would ban stand-alone cold-plate units in beverage dispensers in favor of integral, or built-in, cold plates.

Finally, it clarifies hand-wash sink requirements passed three years earlier to specifically allow workers in various kitchen work areas to share one sink. In the past, some health inspectors had overzealously interpreted the rule as requiring one hand-wash sink for each work area.

Section sponsored by ES3

Galvanized Hoods Get Reprieve In Pennsylvania
If you’re an operator with an existing galvanized hood in Pennsylvania, you’re off the hook. Again. For now.

The state’s Food Code has long included provisions in various forms against galvanized hoods, but enforcement has ebbed and flowed. The most recent Food Code, effective last December, initially called galvanized hoods a critical violation requiring replacement with a stainless steel hood within 12 months.

But then early this year, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s Division of Food Safety met with the Pennsylvania Restaurant Association and agreed to downgrade the violation to non-critical, which meant a one-point safety deduction but did not require replacement.

At that time, a request-for-variance procedure also was put into place. The variance, which required the operator to propose procedures to assure food safety in the presence of a galvanized hood, also saved the operator from the one-point penalty during code inspections.

But as of July 27, the state’s DOA softened, issuing a formal notice that existing galvanized hoods in good working order will not be cited as violations.

The galvanized hood provision remains in the Food Code, however, requiring stainless steel hoods for all new restaurants as well as renovations involving replacement hoods. At issue is the tendency of acidic foods and food vapors to combine with galvanized surfaces to create toxic zinc oxide that could then drip onto food and cooking surfaces.

Section sponsored by ES3

FDA Food Code Marches On
Sometimes it takes awhile for model codes to spread, but nearly 80% of the nation’s states and territories now have based their food safety regulations on some version of the Food and Drug Administration Food Code, according to a recent survey released by the Association of Food and Drug Officials.

To be more specific, 44 out of 56 states and territories report that they have modeled their rules after the 1993, ’95, ’97, ’99 or 2001 versions of the FDA Food Code. That group represents about 75% of the U.S. population.

The ’99 version is the most widely used, with 22 of the 56 states and territories following its rules or portions thereof. And the 2001 edition has been adopted as the core by 10 states and territories.

According to the report, seven states apparently still base their codes on regulations dating back to ’76: Arkansas, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina and Washington. However, all of those states are in the process of updating their regulations, with changes expected to take place by ’05 at the latest.

New Mexico is the only state not using any version of the FDA Food Code, nor is the state in the process of rule-making.

Source: U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Section sponsored by ES3

Colorado Equipment Petitions Broaden Your Options
Here’s a little-known fact for any Colorado operator who has ever wanted to add an unusual—but non-NSF certified, for example—gadget to his or her equipment line-up: A short petition to the state might just get you the official green- light you need.

The two-page form can be used to get state approval to use equipment that lacks certification or classification for sanitation by an American National Standards Institute-accredited certification program. If you’re seeking such approval in Colorado, you’d provide equipment description, use and specifications or blueprint, along with contact information, then submit the form to the state’s Dept. of Public Health and Environment.

The agency receives fewer than five such requests per year, according to Jeff Lawrence, state retail food program manager. Most of them come from individual operators rather than manufacturers, and "it’s usually for unique pieces of equipment at ethnic restaurants," he added. The approval process generally takes about 30 days.

You’ll find the elusive "Equipment Investigation Report" at Appendix J (page 156) of the Colorado Retail Food Establishment Rules and Regulations,

Section sponsored by ES3

Baltimore County Mandates Food Safety Training
Food Safety Certification Time: After its annual review of health codes regulating foodservice this year, Baltimore County made a significant change. As of Oct. 1, all foodservice operators in the county must have at least one staffer who has successfully completed or is enrolled in a food safety certification program.

The city of Baltimore and several other counties in Maryland already have a similar requirement, according to Baltimore County’s department of environmental protection and resource management, but it isn’t a state requirement.

The new regulation also requires you to have at least one employee with food safety certification on the premises during each shift by Apr. 1, 2007.

Section sponsored by ES3

New Fax Law Faces Challenge
To fax, or not to fax? Faxed business promotions would become verboten if a new Federal Communications Commission regulation takes effect as scheduled on Jan. 1, 2005. But proposed legislation might modify that ruling.

Under the FCC’s new rule, meant to protect consumers from fax spam, companies would be required to obtain written consent agreements from recipients before sending a fax. The agreements would have to be updated every four months for business enquiries, and every 18 months after a transaction.

However, legislation is in the works to make the "Unwanted Fax" regs more workable for legitimate businesses. In July, the House of Representatives approved bipartisan legislation (H.R. 4600) that would permit fax communications among parties with established business relationships, while a Senate committee passed a companion bill (S.2603). Both are slated for consideration by the full Senate as early as September.

The National Restaurant Association has come out against the FCC regulation and is supporting the proposals that would reinstate the "established business relationship" exemptions.

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