Koyo USA to pay state millions for bottled water violations

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has agreed to settle an enforcement action against Koyo USA Corporation.  The settlement involves violations at its Kona water bottling plant.

Koyo's product is called, MaHalo Hawaii Deep Sea and has been marketed to consumers in Japan, Hawaii and elsewhere.

Koyo has agreed to pay the department a total of $2 million in two installments.  The first $1 million payment was received by DOH on May 2, 2012.  The second and final payment is due August 31, 2013. The original fine was $5 million.
DOH issued a Notice of Violation and Order against Koyo for utilizing an unapproved manufacturing process for its bottled water from July 7, 2006 to May 19, 2011.

Test results from independent laboratories and the state laboratory confirmed that consumption of the affected bottled water product did not pose an immediate and/or substantial risk to human health. DOH did not recall or embargo any of Koyo's bottled water product. According to the Department of Health, Koyo performed a disinfection process prior to their water product being sold.

"The Koyo company staff and leadership have been cooperative in correcting the unpermitted drinking water filtration process," said Gary Gill, Deputy Director for Environmental Health.  "The settlement payments are being dedicated to support the department's drinking water, food safety and laboratory programs."

DOH says Koyo remains permitted to filter ocean water at its Kona facility and produce a bottled drinking water product.

Here is a statement from Mitchell Thompson, Manager - Corporate Communications for Koyo USA

The Hawaii Department of Health and Koyo USA recently entered into a consent order to settle an administrative violation that was filed by the Department of Health in September 2011.  We are pleased to know the Department of Health confirmed that Koyo USA's bottled deep sea water was safe for consumption at all times.  

The fine was for an alleged technical violation involving Koyo's filtration process.  There is no admission of wrongdoing by Koyo USA in the consent order.  Instead, the Department of Health and Koyo USA agreed to settle because Koyo USA immediately made changes to its filtration process to satisfy any Department of Health concerns.

Instead of expending time and incurring additional costs to dispute the alleged technical violation, Koyo USA agreed to a settlement, and we are pleased to know the funds will be put togood use.  According to the consent decree, the funds will be earmarked to support and enhance the health of Hawaii's people.

As a tenant of the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority and a major employer in Kailua-Kona since 2002, Koyo USA has enjoyed being a part of the local community for the pastdecade. We are proud to be a Hawaii-based organization with strong ties to Japan.  We look forward to continuing to be a major exporter of Kona deep sea water to Japan and a supplier to manufacturers and other businesses in the Islands.

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