Foodservice Equipment Reports Fortnightly
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Welcome to FER Fortnightly Online Newsletter
December 13, 2005








Economic Report:
Sponsored by:
Hatco Corporation
SPECIAL REPORT:
Pt II: The 2006 FER E&S Market Forecast

Industry Report:
Sponsored by:
MUFES '06,
Feb. 11-13, 2006

IH&RA Names Huckestein New President
Enodis USA Opens Equipment-Purchasing Web Program
Two Bid On Dunkin' Donuts



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In This Section:

Pennsylvania Restaurant Inspections To Get Overhaul
Who's On Which FDA Food Code?
High School Soda Vending Machines Come Under Fire
Lord Of The (Smoke) Rings Trilogy:

  Pt. I: Chicago Snuffs Public Smoking, With Important Exception
  Pt. II: And Your Little Dog, Too
  Part III: Westin Jumps On Smoking Ban Wagon

This issue's Economic ReportSponsor: Hatco Corporation |  Industry ReportSponsor: MUFES '06, Feb. 11-13, 2006
Regulatory Report Sponsored by APW Wyott Innovations

Pennsylvania Restaurant Inspections To Get Overhaul
Pennsylvania eateries will face tougher, more frequent inspections, and the results will likely be posted online, if the state has its way.

A special performance audit by the Department of the Auditor General found that about 4,000 of the state's 17,597 restaurants, bars, and retail stores serving food and drinks had their licenses renewed annually despite the fact that they had not been inspected for two years or more.

The audit, which covered Jan. 1, 2002, to Dec. 31, '04, revealed systemic weaknesses at the Department of Agriculture regarding inspections, licensing and record-keeping.

The audit offered a number of recommendations, including:

  • Ensuring that foodservice operations are inspected before initial licensure and after one year;
  • Ensuring that follow-up on violations occurs in a timely manner;
  • Charging fees for follow-up inspections, and being more aggressive in levying fines and suspending or revoking licenses;
  • Publishing inspection reports on the Department of Agriculture's Web site, possibly as early as January 2006;
  • Revising the current inspection scoring system;
  • Setting up a toll-free number for the public to register complaints or ask questions.

To read the full report, log onto the Department of the Auditor General's Web site at www.auditorgen.state.pa.us./Department/Press.

 

Section sponsored by APW Wyott Innovations

Who's On Which FDA Food Code?
Well, it might not be lightning-quick progress, but the influence of the Food and Drug Administration's model Food Code keeps spreading and is pretty much dominant these days.

In August, the Association of Food and Drug Officials reported 48 of 56 states and territories had adopted codes patterned after one vintage or another of the FDA code. That represented headway over year-earlier figures, which tallied 44 of the 56 jurisdictions.

Code "creep" is slow but persistent. Most states and territories now are modeled on the 1999 or 2001 iterations—20 on the '99 version, and 19 on the '01 version, a combined total of 60% of the nation's population. (The '03 version wasn't a full "code," but a "supplement.")

Among the interesting bits in the report: Several states reported having different departments running their own codes based on different years of the FDA model code.

Other notes for cocktail banter: Some big, populous states appear to have their own timetables. California still goes its own way without referencing any version of the FDA code. Illinois is still on the '95 edition. Regs for the state of New Jersey, and New York's Department of Health both remain based on the '76 Model Foodservice Code. Hard to beat a classic, apparently.

For the quick state-by-state rundown, check out www.cfsan.fda.gov/~ear/fcadopt.html


Section sponsored by APW Wyott Innovations

High School Soda Vending Machines Come Under Fire
The food police are on the march again. This time it's sugary beverages they've got in the crosshairs, specifically those sold at high schools.

A lawsuit will be filed in Massachusetts by Center for Science in the Public Interest, the Washington-based nutrition advocacy group. Three tobacco litigation experts are also involved.

The suit will seek to ban sales of "unhealthy beverages"—full-sugar sodas, sports drink and juice-flavored beverages—sold in high school vending machines. The charge? Sugary beverages sold in schools harm students' health and send the message that regular consumption is fine. Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and local bottlers will be targeted as defendants.

This could be the first of similar lawsuits in other states, say the CSPI lawyers. Nearly half of public schools in America have contracts with beverage companies, according to a report published by the Government Accountability Office, including 75% of all high schools.

If the food police have their way with this lawsuit, school districts could see more attacks on their foodservice programs. The Texas Department of Agriculture Public School Nutrition Policy, for example, has put a kibosh on fryers in school kitchens, as reported in the Sept. 28, 2004, Fortnightly. Other states are considering similar moves.


Section sponsored by APW Wyott Innovations

Lord Of The (Smoke) Rings Trilogy:
Pt. I: Chicago Snuffs Public Smoking, With Important Exception

Cold times ahead for Chicago smokers: The city has recently approved an ordinance that bans smoking in nearly all public places, including restaurants without bars, effective Jan. 16.

Taverns and restaurants with bars, however, have been given until July 8, 2008, to comply. The city defines a tavern as an establishment that earns at least 65% of revenues from liquor sales.

Exception to the law: If a restaurant bar or tavern can show it has installed air purification equipment that ensures the same air quality inside as outside, it will be granted a permanent exemption from the smoking ban.

Businesses that unlawfully permit smoking face fines as high as $2,500 and suspension or revocation of their business licenses if they have three violations within a year.


Section sponsored by APW Wyott Innovations

Pt. II: And Your Little Dog, Too
There are some who think Dorothy in "The Wizard of Oz" must have been smoking something when she decided she and Toto weren't in Kansas anymore.

If she was, she might not be anymore. Proposed legislation in the state house of representatives would ban smoking in all public places, including restaurants. But the bill also would allow cities and townships to put smoking up for a vote.

A lot of towns in Kansas aren't waiting around to see what the state does. Lawrence, Kansas City, Fairway and Bel Aire all recently passed no-smoking ordinances. Several more are considering it, including Overland Park, Manhattan and Prairie Village. Opponents of recent bans, however, say they're unfair because bars and restaurants are treated differently.

Arguments over proposed bans in McAllen, Texas, and even Taipei, Taiwan, are just as heated. Concern in McAllen is that smokers will simply eat at restaurants in neighboring communities without bans. In Taipei, the law stipulates that restaurants must post warnings about the dangers of tobacco, but the signs are so graphic that they think customers will lose their appetite after seeing them.


Section sponsored by APW Wyott Innovations

Part III: Westin Jumps On Smoking Ban Wagon
If you've been dragging your feet on stubbing out smoking at your business, here's more evidence of which way the smoke's a-blowing these days, in the form of a blanket smoking ban by Starwood's Westin Hotel chain.

Westin plans to eliminate smoking in all rooms and public places in all 77 of its hotels in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean—the widest such ban to date. When the restriction takes effect Jan. 1, smoking will be allowed only in designated outdoor areas. The company will tack on a $200 charge to anyone caught violating the policy.

To go smoke-free, the company is converting 2,400 formerly smoking rooms with an extensive cleaning.

Westin said it made the decision based on guest surveys showing that 92% asked for non-smoking rooms and 80% said they prefer keeping dining and other common areas smoke-free.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, White Plains, N.Y., also operates the Sheraton, Four Points, Le Meridien, St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, the W Hotels and the recently announced Aloft brands.




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