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October 21, 2013
HONOLULUHawaii restaurants and food establishments will face tougher food-safety standards under proposed rules that could take effect next year.
Under the proposed rules, food establishments must post the results of their last state inspection. A new grading system will be comprised of green ("PASS"), yellow ("CONDITIONAL PASS") and red ("CLOSED") placards, with the latter applying if inspectors find imminent health hazards such as sewage overflow and an infestation of rodents.
Inspectors will reinspect businesses that are cited for major violations such as failure to wash hands and contamination through uncooked foods.
The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) noted the rules will mark the first significant change to food-safety regulations in 17 years.
It is anticipated that fee increases outlined in the new rules will provide funding for 13 additional inspectors, supporting an expanded schedule that will entail at least three on-site inspections annually for high-risk establishments, two onsite inspections each year for medium-risk establishments and annual reviews for all other businesses.
The DOH plans to hold hearings on the proposed rules from Dec. 2-6. Gov. Neil Abercrombie must sign off on the new rules, which are expected to be implemented two to three months after he does so, according to HawaiiNewsNow.
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," said Peter Oshiro, Sanitation Branch chief, in a written statement.
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