Foodservice Equipment Reports Fortnightly
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Welcome to FER Fortnightly Online Newsletter
September 14, 2004








Economic Report:
Sponsored by:
Atlas Metal Industries Inc.


Most QSR Chains, Casual Dining, Continue Strong Growth
NAFEM Industry Index Shows Strong Gains
NRA Performance Index Slips Again
Middling Jobs Growth Reported In August, Florida Hurricanes Hurt Local Operators


Industry Report:
Sponsored by: Vollrath Co.

Nestor Ibrahim Takes Reins At Southbend
McAlister’s Deli Slices New Territory
Walter Simon Wins FEDA's Lifetime Achievement Award
FEDA Signs Agreement With AutoQuotes
A Whole Lotta Moxie Outta Idaho




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In This Section:
Chicago To Streamline Inspections
Proposed Alaska Code Big On Training
Illinois’ St. Clair County Posts Inspection Scores Online
NSF Lists Food-Safe Compounds Online
UL To Update Fire Extinguisher Test Standard


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


Regulatory ReportSponsored by ES3

Chicago To Streamline Inspections
If you’re operating any of the 6,700 restaurants in Chicago, you might soon be finding the city easier to deal with. Off-peak restaurant inspections, reduced inspection fees and consolidated annual bills are all part of major restaurant reforms proposed by Chicago Mayor Richard Daley. If approved as proposed, the city also would issue liquor licenses more quickly and would drop the fingerprinting requirement that slowed the process.

The changes, now pending approval by Chicago City Council, come as the result of negotiations between the city and the Illinois Restaurant Association.

Instead of having multiple teams of city inspectors arrive at a restaurant during peak service times, the Department of Buildings would schedule appointments for one set of inspectors, up to four weeks in advance, for mid-morning or mid-afternoon time slots. Health and fire inspections would remain unannounced.

Inspection fees would drop as well. Currently, a restaurant could pay more than $1,000 in fees for separate inspections for things such as ventilation, refrigeration, conservation and signage. Under the new rules, restaurants would pay a single, lower fee at license renewal time.

For Chicago, the reforms would remain "revenue neutral." More inspections and consolidated billings are expected to keep the revenue stream similar to current levels.

For more information, go to the Chicago city Web site at www.cityofchicago.org/restaurants.

The site addresses restaurant-related licensing questions, and will eventually allow operators to schedule inspections, apply for licenses and track the progression of license and permit applications.



Section sponsored by ES3

Proposed Alaska Code Big On Training
The nation’s largest state is updating its Food Code, and if all goes as planned, Alaska foodservice operators will have a new set of regs by as early as Feb. 2005. The proposed update, modeled on the FDA’s 2001 Code, is slated to be released this month for public comment.

A major component of Alaska's proposed new code is a HACCP-based program called Active Managerial Control, created by Alaska’s Dept. of Environmental Conservation. AMC would require that foodservice operators undergo food safety training; write and follow standard operating procedures; and conduct periodic food safety checks.

On the training side, foodservice supervisors would be expected to complete a Certified Food Protection Manager exam, administered by a third party, within a year of the Code becoming law. All non-supervisory food workers would be required to complete food-safety training and a state-administered exam within the same time frame. Both tests are still in development.

For more information, head for the Active Managerial Control section of Alaska’s Division of Environmental Health Web page, at http://www.state.ak.us/dec/eh/fss/amc/amcbroch.htm.



Section sponsored by ES3

Illinois’ St. Clair County Posts Inspection Scores Online
If you’re an operator in St. Clair County, Ill., you’d better be keeping your shop ship-shape. Whatever score you get on health inspections will be making you famous—or infamous—on the Internet.

The southwestern Illinois county started posting the numbers in August as a way to enhance food safety awareness among foodservice facilities and the general public. Online scores will be updated each month.

The scores show the uncorrected numbers issued by inspectors at the time of the initial inspection rather than the corrected numbers given after an operator resolves any problems.

"We want the public to know what the facility was like when we walked in the door," says Greg James, director of environmental programs.

St. Clair, located just east of St. Louis, is home to about 900 restaurants and foodservice operations. Visit the St. Clair County Health Dept. Web site at www.scchd.org.



Section sponsored by ES3

NSF Lists Food-Safe Compounds Online
Have you ever had to prove to health inspectors the food safety-ness of things such as vegetable wash products, hand-sanitizing materials or even work-surface disinfectants and cleaners?

Now you can let your keyboard do the walking, thanks to a free online database maintained by NSF Int'l. in a White Book called the "Nonfood Compounds Listings Directory."

The White Book lists all products eligible for NSF registration, including nonfood compounds used in food processing areas such as disinfectants and lubricants, and those used for pre-processing foods, such as fruits/vegetable washing agents.

And, in a handy detail that might make health inspectors’ hearts beat a little faster if you print it out for your operations manual, each listing is hyperlinked to both the manufacturer’s Web site and to a letter from NSF to the manufacturer. The letters describe the products and give details of approved usage—in other words, they serve as third-party verifcation of a manufacturer’s safety claim.

The database lets you search the more than 5,600 product entries by manufacturer, product trade name or NSF registration number. Or, if you prefer, you can also downloaded the information as a 200+-page PDF file. Both the database and the PDF file are updated daily.

You’ll find NSF’s Nonfood Compounds White Paper at www.nsfwhitebook.org. NSF is based in Ann Arbor, Mich.



Section sponsored by ES3

UL To Update Fire Extinguisher Test Standard
"Hot" news from Underwriters Laboratories: The Northbrook, Ill., testing organization has proposed updates to UL 300, the standard that covers fire-test methods for pre-engineered fire extinguishing systems used in restaurant cooking areas. A public comment period ends Oct. 1.

Many of the proposed changes for UL 300’s Third Edition are editorial, but some substantive changes also are under consideration.
"The revisions are meant to clarify what we’re currently doing," says UL Principle Engineer George Laverick. "They document the test details and points that we’re looking for when fire-testing commercial cooking equipment."

Proposed tweaks include adding provisions for testing fryers that are larger than 6 sq. ft.; acknowledging the presence of drip pans in certain appliances; allowing commercially available cooking appliances to be used in fire tests in place of fabricated appliances; clarifying the standards when fryers have cooling rates greater than 5ºF per minute. Also, information on fire suppression system installation requirements has been moved to its own section.

Comments can be submitted by Oct. 1 to Standards Representative Amy Stone, amy.stone@us.ul.com, or by phone at 919/549-0948.




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