HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Planning to eat out? First, read up on the food safety record of your favorite restaurant, lunchwagon or deli.
The state Department of Health has launched a new website that allows users to access eatery inspection reports along with descriptions of any violations.
The portal only includes Oahu data currently, but Neighbor Island information will be uploaded soon.
"We're taking transparency to an entirely new level," said Peter Oshiro, who manages the food safety inspection program, in a news release. "Information from the inspection reports empowers consumers and informs their choices."
It took the state about a year to develop the online portal.
The website has data from the state's placard program, launched in July 2014. Under the program, food establishments are given a green, yellow or red placards, and are required to post them in visible location at their entrances.
The color-coded placards indicate whether a food establishment has passed its health inspection, received a conditional pass, or has been temporarily closed due to permit suspension. Restaurants are fined for not posting them.
"Data from the inspection reports give consumers the details behind the green, yellow or red placards, which many have become accustomed to seeing near the entrances of restaurants or other places that serve food," Oshiro said.
Oshiro said about one-fourth of establishments inspected get a yellow card.
He hopes that making placard information more readily available will bring that figure way down.
"We can now show what a bad inspection looks like on a public site," he said. "This should be a great catalyst for the industry to improve their food safety practices and make internal quality control a priority before our inspections."
There are about 7,000 inspection reports posted online, or about 80 percent of all inspections conducted since July 2014.
The remaining reports are due to be uploaded by May.
More than 10,000 food establishments statewide prepare or serve food and require a state Department of Health permit to operate their business. Permitted establishments include restaurants, hotels, caterers, food warehouses, markets, convenience stores, lunch wagons, push carts, and institutional kitchens for healthcare facilities, schools, adult and child day care centers, and prisons.
Access the new eatery inspection here at: hi.healthinspections.us/hawaii.