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New Food Safety Rules Go into Effect Sept. 2

August 29, 2017, 1:00 PM HST (Updated August 29, 2017, 11:12 AM) · 2 Comments
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Big Island Now stock photo. Nov. 2016

New state food safety rules affecting food establishments statewide will go into effect on Sept. 2 in an effort to improve public health.

The rules were amended in Chapter 50 of the Food Safety Code by the Hawaiʻi Department of Health (DOH) after completing public hearings on Hawaiʻi Island, Kauaʻi, Maui and Oʻahu in December 2016 and March 2017.

One of the significant rule changes requires people in charge of food establishments to undergo Food Handlers Education certification. The mandate aims to ensure an established baseline of food safety knowledge for all facility owners and managers. Studies have shown that proper training for persons-in-charge results in lower incidents of food safety violations directly linked with food-borne illnesses, according to DOH.

The new mandate also requires at least one employee with formal food handlers training to be present at every establishment during regular business hours. The required training certification is available online through various vendors with fees averaging between $10 to $15.

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Proof of certification will be required during health inspections after Sept. 2, 2018. DOH will accept certifications recognized by the American National Standards Institute. Food establishments will be allowed one year to comply with the new ruling.

Other changes to Hawaiʻi’s Food Safety Rules include:

  • Health inspectors may post placards during all types of inspections, including those for general complaints, and may post a “CLOSED” red placard at food establishments operating without a valid permit.
  • DOH may refuse permit renewals for food establishments with unpaid fines or stipulated agreements more than 30 days overdue.
  • DOH approval will be required prior to the sale of all “Wild Harvested Mushrooms.”
  • Permit exemptions will be allowed for residential child and adult day care providers, and bed and breakfast operators when certain conditions are adhered to. While exempt from permit requirements, these establishments may be subject to state health inspections.
  • Exemptions will also be allowed for the sale of “Homemade Foods” that are not potentially hazardous (e.g. certain pre-packaged foods). While exempt from permit requirements, these establishments may also be subject to state health inspections.
  • Special Event Temporary Food Establishment permits will be restricted to 31 days at a time. Consecutive permits may be allowed. Permit fees will remain at $100 for a 20-day permit with an additional $5 fee for each day over 20 days.
  • The section of the rules for Mobile Food Establishments has been removed and these regulations will be incorporated into the general regulations for all food establishments. All Mobile Food Establishments are required to access a state approved facility to support their food operations safely.
  • Full adoption of the 2013 FDA Model Food Code to include regulations governing reduced oxygen packaging. This will provide Hawaii with the most current nationally recognized food safety practices based on the most recent scientific studies conducted on food safety.

For more information on DOH’s food safety program, visit http://health.hawaii.gov/san/.

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