Many restaurants support new food safety program

Many restaurants support new food safety program
Published: Oct. 18, 2013 at 2:49 PM HST|Updated: Oct. 19, 2013 at 12:24 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state wants to give customers more confidence they won't get sick when they eat out. Inspectors will look at things like employee hygiene, food and cooking temperatures and equipment contamination. The rules are similar to what is in place right now however one of the main differences is all of you will know how a restaurant scored.

While restaurants serve up your favorite foods the last thing they want to dish out is a food borne illness which is why the Hawaii Restaurant Association and places like L&L Hawaiian Barbecue are all for a new food placard system.

"Those who are doing it right will actually be rewarded because they will actually be recognized for what a great job they do," said Bryan Andaya, L&L Hawaiian Barbecue Chief Operating Officer and Hawaii Restaurant Association Board Chair. "It keeps us on our toes and forces our operators to maintain a higher standard. It really benefits everyone."

Places without a violation would get a green. Those with two or more violations will get a yellow and a re-inspection the next working day. And those that are really bad would get a red and be closed until the problems are fixed.

"I don't want to get sick or get food poisoning so I think it's a fabulous idea," said Jerry Stabile, customer. "It would certainly give them an incentive to make the food properly."

The past few years restaurants were only getting inspected once every two and a half years. But the state will have 26 inspectors by the end of this year and 31 inspectors by 2015. They will investigate high restaurants three times a year. Those are the establishments that cook and serve raw meats. Medium risk restaurants like fast food chains that serve frozen food will be checked twice a year and lower risk places once a year. Those are the single serve establishments like ice cream parlors.

"It presents a real sea change of how we are going to regulate food safety in Hawaii. This is very important to us. We've been working on it the past couple years and the bottom line is we're trying to reduce the occurrences of food borne illness risk factors out in the community," said Peter Oshiro, State Department of Health Sanitation Branch Chief.

The program will be paid for with increases in annual restaurant permit fees which will go up from $46 to $200.

The color coded placards will be in front of every restaurant. Inspection reports will also be searchable online to see if your favorite restaurant made the cut.

After the public hearings in December the Governor will need to sign off on the plan which the Department of Health expects him to do and once that happens the plan will be implemented two or three months thereafter.

What do you think - join the conversation on Facebook ->

To view Hawaii Administrative Rules Chapter 11- 50, titled, "Food Safety Code," click here.

Public hearings will be held at the following dates and locations:

Hawaii (Hilo): Monday, Dec. 2, at 1 p.m.

Environmental Health Facility conference room (1582 Kamehameha Ave., Hilo)

Hawaii (Kona): Tuesday, Dec. 3, at 1 p.m.

West Hawaii Civic Center - Liquor Control conference room, 2nd Floor, Bldg. B

(74-5044 Ane Keohokalole Hwy., Kailua-Kona)

Oahu: Wednesday, Dec. 4, at 1 p.m.

Environmental Management Division conference room, 5th Floor (919 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu)

Maui: Thursday, Dec. 5, at 1 p.m.

UH- Maui College Community Services Building (310 Kaahumanu Ave., Bldg. #205, Kahului)

Kauai: Friday, Dec. 6, at 1 p.m.

Lihue Health Center conference room (3040 Umi St., Lihue)

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