KAILUA-KONA, HAWAII (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state has fined Sam Choy's Kai Lanai eatery $13,000 for removing a yellow "conditional pass" placard and posting a green "pass" placard in its place.
The restaurant in Kailua-Kona removed the conditional pass placard after a routine inspection Jan. 4 found five major food code violations.
The violations included: Bare-handed contact with ready-to-eat foods, improper storage of raw foods above other foods, failure to date-stamp refrigerated ready-to-eat foods, failure to ensure the availability of hand wash sinks, and failure to provide hand wash sinks with hand towels.
Two follow-up inspections this week found ongoing violations, including bare-handed contact with ready-to-eat foods.
A yellow placard will remain displayed at the eatery until all violations have been corrected, the state Health Department said.
"Placard removal is a serious violation with substantial consequences because this act intentionally places profit above health and safety and compromises the public's trust and their right-to-know when violations occur during an inspection," said Peter Oshiro, environmental health program manager, in a news release.