We are working to keep this area one of the key features of our site:  ours is a specialty business and much of the specialty knowledge vital to success can only be acquired on the job.  For those of you that are new to the industry, or are industry outsiders, manufacturers of food equipment contract with independent sales and marketing agencies to promote their equipment to the trade in certain geographical area’s and/or special accounts or market segments.   The manufacturers pay these agencies commissions based upon every sale made in the agents contracted area. Aside from the obvious (increase sales) there are no text books or course curriculums offered that provide a road map to success for multi-line independent factory reps.   Ours is often touted as the single most regulated industry in the U.S., with more codes, regulations and authorities having jurisdiction per square foot of kitchen space than any other area of any building.

 Besides offering a guide to navigating the (sometimes murky) waters of code, we believe that increased knowledge leads to innovation and innovation to a wider market. In addition, we are conscious that our industry deals in food production and consequently with many different environmental and health issues. To be responsible participants in this industry we must be concerned with food safety, food service provider safety, consumer health and environmental impact. Improved technology—born of experienced based knowledge—will allow our business and the industry as a whole to meet regulatory concerns and remain profitable, while also offering the service of protecting and promoting public and environmental well-being. 

Please do not take our “knowledge” as fact.  These are collections of our perceptions from our personal experience

Code and Compliance

Our years of representing leading manufacturers of food service equipment and food related mechanical systems led us to develop code and compliance specialties in part due to hard knocks.   The State of Minnesota is known coast to coast for their advanced regulatory agencies supported in part by our rich and diverse medical and agricultural economic base.  Each of our code specialties arose from various problems or more appropriately, “prerequisite opportunities” we encountered whilst plying our craft promoting and selling foodservice equipment to a diverse cast of stakeholders from architects, engineers and foodservice consultants to dealers, distributors and of course, end users.  The variety of manufacturers we represent has introduced us into every imaginable market segment that is involved with food service, including chain restaurants, locally owned specialty stores, retail grocery and convenience stores, military bases, care facilities, schools, universities, business and industry, and hotels, casinos and catering operations. Every one of these is regulated by extensive code (often codes) that provided sometimes unnecessary limitations and hurdles to business and innovation. Therefore, every missed opportunity to better a badly written code section meant additional waste or a constraint to the financial health of our industry sector, and many times to public health as well.   

In 1987, our business decided that to really increase our potential we needed to increase our knowledge of  local, state and national regulations regarding a variety of industry related code. We became active participants in regulatory committees and advisory boards concerning food, sanitation, fire and building codes (such as mechanical, plumbing and electrical).   

For over 25 years, our CEO, Tom Johnson, has been actively involved in code regulation. He has worked with the Minnesota Environmental Health Association (MEHA), the international ASHRAE technical committee, the State of Minnesota’s’ Interagency Review Council, and the Conference on food Protection (responsible for the FDA Food Code, as well as many other state (MN and other) and local agencies. In the course of this participation he has contributed to the adoption of new food laws and became known as an industry advocate for the inclusion of new technology.

In the course of his activism, Tom found that he had discovered and additional career as a consultant. Specifically, it was through his participation in the CFP and his successful presentations of submittals to both the 1998 Milwaukee CFP and then the 2001 Nashville CFP that he came to be retained by NAFEM as their consultant in the field of standards development and regulatory relations.  This in turn led to assignments on the UL advisory committee and in October of 2003, his appointed to the NSF joint Committee for Food Equipment.  


Johnson Commercial Agents Resources on Code and Compliance

JCA Appellation on Regulation

Code Adoption Process

International Mechanic Code

FDA Food Code 2013