NEWS WATCH

POLL Finds Optimism In Food Servicece companies shows operators have "substantially higher levels of business confidence" than a year ago, according to Technomic Inc. Restaurants and other food-service operators said their strategy to boost profits will focus on increasing sales through gaining new customers, as well as increasing the dining frequency of current customers. Manufacturers are also more

POLL Finds Optimism In Food Service

ce companies shows operators have "substantially higher levels of business confidence" than a year ago, according to Technomic Inc. Restaurants and other food-service operators said their strategy to boost profits will focus on increasing sales through gaining new customers, as well as increasing the dining frequency of current customers. Manufacturers are also more upbeat, with 90% expecting sales growth for 2003, and citing building market share, improving customer service and controlling/reducing costs as top goals. So far this year, casual dining venues have posted the strongest performance, with year-to-date revenues up 11.5% compared to 2001. The industry research and consulting firm conducted the annual poll for the International Foodservice Manufacturers Association.

FDA Reveals Changes in Food-Safety Habits

WASHINGTON -- A survey of nearly 4,500 Americans by the Food and Drug Administration finds continued -- though small -- improvement in consumer efforts to prevent cross contamination, but also an increase in the consumption of certain raw foods, like clams, oysters and fish. In one example, the poll reveals that fewer people are not washing their hands after handling raw meat and poultry -- 28.5% in 1993 vs. only 15% in 2001. Decreases were also found in the number of people who consume raw or undercooked hamburgers, steak and eggs. However, the number of respondents eating raw seafood jumped from 9% in 1993 to 15% in 2001. FDA officials noted the greatest gains in consumer food safety were made between 1993 and 1998 -- and that these improvements, with the exception of raw seafood, were maintained between 1998 and 2001.