Waimalu restaurant cited for removing DOH placard

The Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) has cited a Waimalu restaurant for intentionally removing the posted yellow “CONDITIONAL PASS” placard from its facility and for food safety violations. As a result the DOH fined the owners of Ichiben restaurant, 3 W Restaurant Group LLC, $8,000. During a routine health inspection at Ichiben, DOH issued the restaurant a yellow placard for five major food code violations, on Dec. 26, 2014. Ichiben was cited for having an inaccessible hand wash sink, improper mechanical and manual sanitizing of dishes, improper food temperature violations, and cross-contamination of in-use utensils by employees handling raw poultry. On Dec. 29, the DOH inspector saw the placard was not posted. “With more than 2,000 inspections completed since the start of the new placarding system, we've seen excellent compliance with the food industry; this is only the second incident involving intentional removal of a placard,” said Peter Oshiro, Environmental Health program manager. “The program is a huge success and after completing the most challenging inspections involving eating places in the higher-risk category, we are well on track to complete the inspections for all licensed food establishments this year.” During a follow up inspection on Dec. 30, the DOH inspector saw that the placard was posted and Ichiben had corrected four of the five major violations they had been cited for. One outstanding major violation was corrected on site during the inspection. A green placard is currently posted at Ichiben as all major violations have been corrected. Major violations are those conditions known to cause foodborne illnesses as recognized by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A food establishment may face fines of $2,000 per day for removing an inspection placard posted by DOH and $1,000 per day for each critical violation that led to the facility receiving a yellow placard. Placard removal is a serious violation because this act intentionally places profit above health and safety and compromises the public's trust and their right to know when violations occur during an inspection. The restaurant placarding system began on Oahu in June 2014 and since its establishment nearly 1,600 restaurants have received a green pass placard and nearly 600 have received a yellow conditional pass placard.

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