Department of Health investigating food poisoning episode - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Department of Health investigating food poisoning episode

Peter Oshiro (in black shirt, on right) Peter Oshiro (in black shirt, on right)
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

One day after 40 students and two adults suffered food poisoning at Waipahu Elementary School, the State Department of Health had an inspector and epidemiologist on site to find out exactly what caused the episode.

Unlike some other schools that have ‘satellite' food services, in which food is prepared elsewhere and delivered, Waipahu Elementary prepares its own food in its kitchen.  However, today it used a satellite service according to school Principal Gary Chun.

The food inspector has a lengthy to-do list. The normal protocol is to interview food handlers to see if any of them were sick.  They will also be checked for open wounds.

Food temperatures and times are always measured, to ensure refrigerated items are cold enough and hot items are hot enough.  Preparation areas and procedures will also be inspected.

Additionally, sanitation processes will be checked to see if everything is being cleaned properly.

Lastly, a food sample was taken and will be tested to determine if there are any toxins or harmful bacteria present.

These safeguards aren't just in response to episodes, but also as part of regular inspections.

"Because of the susceptibility of the population, we make sure that schools are inspected at least twice a year" said the DOH's Health Services Program Manager Peter Oshiro.

Waipahu Elementary was last inspected on September 18, 2013.  It passed with only one minor violation.  A hot holding container was not hot enough, so the temperature was turned up.

Oshiro says there is no timeline for when the results will come back.


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