New Color-Coded Placard Program Launched for Food Safety
By Wendy Osher
The state Department of Health launched a new Food Safety Code program in Hawaiʻi that utilizes color-coded placards to indicate compliance status.
Restaurants and food trucks get a green placard if they have no more than one critical violation; yellow is posed when a business has two or more critical violations, or when they have a critical violation that is not corrected; and a red placard indicates that a food establishment poses a danger to health and requires closure.
Health officials say the program promotes increased efficiency and funding for the department, and gives Hawaiʻi consumers more peace of mind about being protected from foodborne illnesses and other health hazards when they’re eating out.
There are currently 1,600 food establishment businesses on Maui that require health department permits, and four health inspectors on the island. Health officials say they may hire up to four more inspectors this year.
“The new law has a built-in incentive for self-policing among food facilities to correct their violations in a timely manner,” said Peter Oshiro, environmental health program manager in the Sanitation, Food and Drug and Vector Control Branch of DOH in a department press release.
“The resulting increased efficiency will free up our inspectors to devote more time to conduct inspections of all of our facilities, and less time on follow-up with the same establishments that do not address their violations in a timely manner,” said Oshiro.
The new risk-based inspection schedules began on Monday on Oʻahu and will continue throughout the year across the state.
Editor’s note: see our analysis of the new Food Safety Code when we broke the news of the changes to regulations on Sept. 14, 2012. The analysis covers costs, benefits, impacts on overall food prices, and how effective similar rules have been in other states.