HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Department of Health has fined a popular Oahu bubble tea shop after removing a conditional yellow health placard from their window.
Shaka Shaka Tea Express on S. King Street was given the yellow placard after an inspection on Sept. 24. The DOH said inspectors found four critical violations among others.
Health records show violations included inadequate hand washing facilities and practices; improper food handling and storage; and a lack of personnel onsite with food protection certification.
[View the full inspection report at the bottom of this story.]
During a follow-up inspection on the 26th, the inspector had found that the yellow placard was removed. State law requires that all placards, regardless of condition, be clearly visible at food establishments.
The family claims the placard fell off the window and onto the floor when the inspector followed up.
The DOH fined Maggie Feng of Shaka Shaka Tea Express $2,000 for removing the placard.
“The public has a right to know when violations occur during inspections at local food establishments for their own health and safety, which is why placard removal is a serious public trust violation with substantial consequences,” said Peter Oshiro, environmental health program manager. “Since the start of the new placarding program, we’ve seen excellent compliance with the food industry; this is only the sixth incident involving tampering with a placard.”
Shaka Shaka Tea Express has 20 days to request a hearing to contest the fine and violation notice. Family members say they have since corrected the violations and were issued a green pass.
The color-coded placard system began in 2014. Since then, the DOH says 40,000 routine inspections have taken place and only 6,500 of those resulted in yellow “Conditional Pass” placards.
Of those 6,500 yellow placards, the DOH says only six ended in red, or closed, placards.
For more information on the program, click here.