Foodservice Equipment Reports

Monday Deadline Looms For Input On EPA’s Refrigerant Phaseout

Monday, Oct. 20, is the final day for comments to be received on the proposed phaseout, and the accelerated schedule for that phaseout, of refrigerants commonly used in the foodservice industry.

Foodservice stakeholders, especially operators, need to weigh in on one of the greatest regulatory changes ever to threaten the industry--a modification that would affect how foodservice kitchens can keep food safely and reliably cold and how refrigeration manufacturers can viably produce units to meet new government standards within a short period of time.  

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is accepting comments and opinions through Monday, Oct. 20, the extended public comment period for its proposal that phases out all refrigerants currently used in commercial refrigeration equipment. The period, extended two weeks past its Oct. 6 deadline, might indicate that the agency has been overwhelmed with impact statements and opposition to the proposal, which would phase out all refrigerants currently used in commercial refrigeration equipment by Jan. 1, 2016. A decision on the phaseout and the changeover deadline is expected in April 2015.

NAFEM is leading the E&S industry opposition, but the voices of all foodservice industry stakeholders are needed to sound the alarm on how this proposal affects their businesses. Dealers, operators and members of all allied associations—CFESA, FCSI, FEDA and MAFSI—are needed to submit comments regarding the impact on their businesses. NAFEM has provided talking points and background on the issue on its website. Additional information on the refrigeration proposal can be found on the EPA’s website.

NAFEM asserts that the proposed compliance dates are unrealistic, if not impossible, for manufacturers to meet and the impact on the foodservice equipment industry would be significant if the rule, limiting the industry to four refrigerant options—ammonia, CO2, isobutene and propane—is finalized as proposed. Based on the transition experience of European manufacturers and prior changes within the domestic industry, NAFEM is urging the EPA to provide at least a 10-year timeframe for its proposed conversion.

Individuals may send comments and questions about the program via email to spdcomment@epa.gov or via U.S. mail to the U.S. EPA, Stratospheric Protection Div.-Office of Atmospheric Programs, Mail Code 6205M, 1200 Pennsylvania Ave. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20460.

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