Foodservice Equipment Reports Fortnightly

Welcome to FER Fortnightly Online Newsletter
September 25, 2007

Economic Report:
Sponsored by:
Manitowoc Foodservice Group
Chain Rollouts Drive Surging Sales For Public E&S Companies
Foodservice Traffic Growth Faster At Retail Outlets Than At Restaurants, Says NPD
Panels Set For FER's Focus On Channels Forecast Meeting

Industry Report:
Sponsored by:
Server Products
Full-Spectrum Lighting May Not Have Patrons Seeing The Light
NSF Int'l. Acquires CMi
ASHFSA, FCSI, SFM Move Offices
Bargreen-Ellingson Acquires American Restaurant Supply
NRA Opens 2008 Kitchen Innovations Program
More Chains Ditch Trans Fat

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In This Section:
NYC Calorie-Posting Law Tossed, But California Paves Way For Others
More States Adopting EU-Type RoHS Laws
Illinois Governor Signs Utility Relief Bill
Chicago Foie Gras Ban Is Big Trouble For Popular Bistro
BK Swaps Apples For Fries, Joins Kids Ad Initiative

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

NYC Calorie-Posting Law Tossed, But California Paves Way For Others
You can hold up on those new menu boards in New York City, at least for now. But it's a different story in California.

A federal judge has tossed out New York's new ordinance requiring chains to post nutrition content on menu boards, saying it's superseded by federal law.

Judge Richard J. Holwell ruled in U.S. District court in favor of the state restaurant association, which had filed suit to prevent the law from taking effect.

Holwell said the law wasn't valid because it required only chain restaurants already voluntarily making nutrition information available to post that info on their menu boards. (Back when the law was first reported, you might remember that FER Fortnightly expressed the same concern.)

The judge did say, however, that the city could apply the law to all restaurants or a class of restaurants (such as chains with 10 or more units), meaning the city could pass a revised ordinance.

Meanwhile, California became the first state to pass a statewide menu labeling law in both houses of the legislature. Unlike New York's ordinance, it requires all chains with 10 units or more to post calories on menu boards and provide printed nutrition information with saturated fat, trans fat, calorie, sodium and carbohydrate content of each menu item. Based on Judge Holwell's ruling, the California law is unlikely to be challenged. King County, Wash., recently enacted a similar law.


Section sponsored by Enodis

More States Adopting EU-Type RoHS Laws
Determined not to let their citizens end up mad as hatters, more states are considering "Restriction of Hazardous Substances" legislation similar to that adopted in the European Union.

Many of the metals and plastics used to manufacture electric and electronic equipment, particularly mercury, can be highly toxic. At least eight states—California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont—have legislated phase-outs of products containing mercury.

Three of those states have already banned the use of mercury switches and relays, with others set to ban them this January. Another five states have joined to form the Interstate Mercury Education and Reduction Clearinghouse, providing guidelines and education for both manufacturers and consumers on products containing mercury, phase-out legislation and how to prepare for RoHS rules.

Several companies are addressing the challenge of producing switches that work in environments like foodservice kitchens without the limitations of alternatives like mechanical relays and solid state relays.

For more information on mercury phase-outs and legislation in IMERC member states, go to and click on "Mercury."

Section sponsored by Enodis

Illinois Governor Signs Utility Relief Bill
How do you spell "relief"? In Illinois, it's spelled "lower electric rates," but "temporary rebate structure" will do, too.

After months of negotiation with major utility companies Commonwealth Edison and Ameren, the Illinois legislature came up with a compromise bill earlier this summer to roll back dramatic rate increases that took effect in January. Even then, Gov. Rod Blagojevich waited until the end of August to sign the bill, hoping the power companies could be persuaded to sweeten the $1 billion deal. After reviewing the bill, however, he said "it will provide immediate relief and put us in a position to keep working on longer-term electricity issues."

Electric rates skyrocketed in January after caps enacted 10 years ago expired. Business and consumers cried foul, and legislators went to work trying to get the utilities to give back some of the rate increases.

The bill leaves the new rates in place but mandates rebates and credits that will phase down and out over time. Chicago-area ComEd customers will get an average credit of $57 in October and an additional $7 per month for the rest of the year, offsetting about half the rate increase. Downstate, Ameren customers will get an average rebate of about $85 and an additional $5 per month through the remainder of the year. Credits drop sharply next year and disappear in 2009.

The deal also requires implementation of energy-efficiency programs to reduce the state's electricity demands.

Section sponsored by Enodis

Chicago Foie Gras Ban Is Big Trouble For Popular Bistro
A popular French restaurant in Chicago's trendy River North neighborhood fell victim recently to the city's foie gras ban enacted last year. But not because it was selling foie gras.

Cyrano's Bistrot was shut down by the health department after city inspectors responded to a consumer complaint that the restaurant was selling the banned delicacy. Though owner/chef Didier Durand has actively campaigned against the city's ban, and the menu on the restaurant's Web site still lists "Duck Foie Gras" as an appetizer, he wasn't cited for harboring illegal goose or duck liver. Inspectors didn't find foie gras on the premises, but they did find an infestation of cockroaches.

Hmm, paté de cafard gras, anyone?

Section sponsored by Enodis

BK Swaps Apples For Fries, Joins Kids Ad Initiative
Maybe the French had foresight when they named potatoes pommes de terre or "apples of the earth."

In a move toward defusing government scrutiny of how Burger King and the food industry at large advertise and promote certain foods to children, the Miami-based firm has swapped out French fries for apple slices that look like fries. The chain also joined the Better Business Bureau's Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative, formed in November 2006, to encourage companies to voluntarily curb kids' consumption of junk food.

BK is testing kids' meals this fall that substitute flame-broiled chicken tenders for fried ones, organic no-sugar-added applesauce for a sugar-added version, and 1% chocolate milk for soda.

By joining the ad initiative, BK pledged to market meals to kids under age 12 that contain no more than 560 calories, less than 30% of calories from fat, less than 10% of calories from saturated fat, no or zero-grams trans fat and no more than 10% of calories from added sugar.

The chain is the 11th company to join the initiative. Of that number, McDonald's Corp. is the only other foodservice-oriented company. The others are food and soft-drink manufacturers.

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