Foodservice Equipment Reports

Hawaii Weighs New Food Safety Rules

The Hawaii State Department of Health plans statewide public hearings Dec. 2-6 to introduce new food-safety regulations affecting all restaurants and food establishments in the state. The new regulations, the first substantial update in the state since 1996, include adoption of the 2009 U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Model Food Code as the basis for the rules, the introduction of a restaurant grading system that will require food establishments to post the results of the most recent state inspection, a move to annual permitting from biennial permitting and permit-fee increases.

“Adoption of the FDA Model Food Code will provide Hawaii with nationally recognized standards based on the most current scientific findings on food safety,” said Peter Oshiro, chief of Hawaii’s Sanitation Branch. “The new food-safety rules will mean a huge step forward for our program and will result in overall improvements by expanding food-safety testing, pesticide monitoring of local produce and shellfish monitoring, among many other activities that protect public health every day.”

The new grading system will consist of green “Pass,” yellow “Conditional Pass” and red “Closed” placards. Hopes are that the fee increases outlined in the new rules will fund 13 additional full-time inspector positions granted by the state legislature. The additional staffing would support an expanded inspection schedule that will include a minimum of three annual on-site inspections for high-risk establishments, two annual on-site inspections for medium-risk operations and annual visits for all other establishments to meet national program standards.

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