Food Safety in Paradise: Hawaii Implements A New Rating Program

Source: Polynesian Cultural Center

Source: Polynesian Cultural Center

One may have thought references to someone “getting a red card” might have diminished with the conclusion of the World Cup this July. However, residents of Hawaii have the phrase very much in mind with the launch of the Hawaii Department of Health’s new restaurant food safety law (one based on similar existing initiatives in Toronto and Sacramento).

Getting a “green card” means an inspection has been passed. To pass, a restaurant must demonstrate it does not allow employees to have bare-handed contact with ready-to-eat foods, that it maintains proper holding temperatures for food, ensures hand washing standards compliance, etc. “Yellow” indicates that there are “two or more major violations” that require “a follow-up inspection. Red means the place is shut down due to health risks.”

A level of debate, according to Manolo Morales of KHON, has resulted especially from the implementation of the glove requirements. Some concerned food workers cite the gloves are cumbersome to wear during food preparation, while officials argue the use of gloves can prevent numerous food safety concerns including norovirus, “the number one food borne illness in the country.” Locals and visitors to the islands, alike, now can now get a taste of the program, at any of the 10,000 establishments covered by the law.

A Picture of Mathew J. Bartkowiak, Ph.D.

About Mathew J. Bartkowiak, Ph.D.

Laboratory Products Department Manager, Nelson-Jameson, Inc.
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