Foodservice Equipment Reports Fortnightly

Welcome to FER Fortnightly Online Newsletter
October 20, 2009

Economic Report:
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Only Two Weeks Until FER E&S Market Forecast Webinar Nov. 4
Purchasing Forecasts Commodity Prices To Rise Off Recessionary Lows
Econ Forecasts Improve, But Not For Spending, Employment
State Tax Revenues Plunged Record 16.6% In Q2

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NRA Seeks Kitchen Innovation Nominees
MAFSI Announces New Officers, Honors Members
Darden Goes For LEED Gold With New Headquarters
Burger King 20/20 Redesign Takes Off

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In This Section:
Menu Labeling, Fast-Food Bans Not Helping, Studies Say
Alabama's Food-Code Changes In January
First Toast, Now Chicken In Latest Cancer Scare
Cornell Makes Sense Of Wage-And-Hour Laws
New Zealand Plans Food Code Overhaul

This issue's Economic ReportSponsor: FER Forecast Webinar 
Industry Report Sponsor: Internorga 2010 
Regulatory Report Manitowoc Foodservice

Menu Labeling, Fast-Food Bans Not Helping, Studies Say
Surprise! Limiting fast-food restaurants in a given area and putting calorie counts on menus aren't keeping folks from packing on pounds. Recent studies in Los Angeles and New York City suggest that changing people's habits to include healthier eating means a lot more than legislating posted calorie counts or even a moratorium on new fast food restaurants.

In Los Angeles, in the wake of the city's moratorium on new fast-food stores in South L.A. neighborhoods, researchers at Rand Corp. analyzed the concentration of fast-food restaurants, supermarkets and small grocery stores in different areas to see if there was a correlation to obesity levels. Study authors found that wealthier West L.A. had a higher concentration of fast-food restaurants but lower levels of obesity.

The higher obesity rate in South L.A., said Roland Sturm, one of the study's authors, is more likely due to snacks and sodas, often purchased at small grocery stores. South L.A. has 58 convenience stores per 100,000 residents compared to only 14 in West L.A. That revelation now has activists and a city council member talking about a moratorium on c-stores in South L.A., too.

In the meantime, researchers in New York following up on the nation's first calorie-posting law said it has had little effect on people's behavior, at least in poor neighborhoods with high levels of obesity. Professors at New York University surveyed people who ate at fast-food stores covered by the regulation. About 28% said the posted information influenced their food choices, and 90% of those people said they made healthier choices as a result.

But the researchers also paid participants for their restaurant receipts and found that people actually ordered more calories than typical customers before the posting ordinance went into effect. The research was based on 1,100 receipts and conducted two weeks before and four weeks after the ordinance took effect. The city says it's now conducting its own analysis of 12,000 receipts after the information has had more time to sink in with consumers.


Section sponsored by Manitowoc Foodservice

Alabama's Food-Code Changes In January
Don't forget that Alabama is changing its food code in January to one that mirrors the Food and Drug Administration's Model Food Code. Among the changes are a requirement to have a manager certified in safe food handling on duty, cold-food storage temps lowered to 41°F from 45°F and higher internal temps on certain cooked foods.

The state health department's Bureau of Environmental Services and local health departments are holding a number of ServSafe classes throughout the state between now and the end of the year to get managers and employees up to speed.

For more information on the changes and class schedules, go to and click on the environmental services link.

Section sponsored by Manitowoc Foodservice

First Toast, Now Chicken In Latest Cancer Scare
Well, as comedian Steve Martin might say, excu-u-u-se us for eating. A group of doctors in this particular case is suing KFC—although on different days it's been different chains—saying the chain's new grilled-chicken product might cause cancer. The scary thing is, under California law KFC could be liable.

A few years ago you may recall California voters passed Proposition 65, a public-health law that calls for consumer warnings on products that might contain cancer-causing agents. (You know, like a ton or two of saccharin at a sitting, or red dye number-whatever.) Even toast came under fire, so to speak, when acrylamides, formed when foods like bread and french fries are browned, were found to cause cancer. Now it turns out grilled chicken—and other grilled food—contains a substance known as PhIP, a carcinogenic chemical.

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine filed suit against KFC for failing to warn customers of the potential danger of eating grilled chicken. Last year, the group sued Burger King, McDonald's and four other big chains for the same thing, but the suit was dismissed. California's attorney general already exempted grilled chicken from Prop 65 labeling requirements back in 2006. That hasn't discouraged PCRM from filing an appeal.

After the earlier suit was filed, Burger King decided to play it safe and now posts cancer warnings in its California stores. KFC isn't bowing to pressure. Spokesman Rick Maynard said in a statement that KFC chicken meets or exceeds all federal and state food-safety regulations, including Proposition 65.

Section sponsored by Manitowoc Foodservice

Cornell Makes Sense Of Wage-And-Hour Laws
You all know that the federal minimum wage is the law of the land—except when it isn't. Federal wage-and-hour laws do take precedence except when state or local laws set higher standards. Trying to make sense of the state laws, especially in the restaurant industry where things like tip credits apply, can be difficult and confusing. Chains that operate nationally or regionally have to be careful about how they handle payroll in different stores.

Cornell University's Center for Hospitality Research has compiled a guide to the wage-and-hour laws in all fifty states. Authors Carolyn Richmond and David Sherwyn went through the center's Labor and Employment Law Roundtables to start, and included case-law examples of how restaurateurs have been tripped up by matters such as premium pay rates, employees' break and lunch patterns, and how to handle service charges and tip pools.

The guide is available free at the center's website,

Section sponsored by Manitowoc Foodservice

New Zealand Plans Food Code Overhaul
If you're doing business in New Zealand you'll be working with a new food code in the next two years, if you aren't already. The New Zealand Food Safety Authority is updating its code for the first time since 1981.

The major change is shifting responsibility for food safety away from government inspectors to foodservice operators and food processors. The new code will require operations that produce food for consumption to use one of three tools to comply with food-safety laws. Most foodservice operators will adhere to an off-the-shelf food-safety program much like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Model Food Code. More complex food-production facilities may use custom food-safety programs. The third tool, which the NZFSA encourages everyone to use, is food-handler education. Some operators, like church groups and bed-and-breakfasts, will only have to educate food handlers.

Rather than creating an inspection system that looks for violations, the new provisions will have inspectors making sure operators are in compliance based on their level of risk, putting the onus on operators to demonstrate that they're taking the proper precautions. Depending on the operation, level of risk and degree of past compliance, operators may be inspected on a less frequent basis. Several operations have piloted a voluntary program for the past year to test the code.

The new code also will clarify standards for imported and exported food, establish a national restaurant grading system and improve provisions for penalties for noncompliance. The code is expected to be effective late next year or early 2011. For more information, go to

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