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View Poll Results: Would you support paying for more restaurant inspectors?
Yes. Higher menu prices are worth it. 6 37.50%
No. I'll take a chance with the occasional roach in my burger. 5 31.25%
I think I will stick with more familiar eateries. No more being adventerous 3 18.75%
I'll just stay at home. 2 12.50%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 16. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old November 3rd, 2009, 02:49 PM
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Exclamation Food safety alerts

In case you didn't see it, KITV did a series of reports on the impact that budget cuts have had on the frequency of health inspections that take place at Hawaii restaurants. Are you comfortable with once every two years?

http://www.kitv.com/video/21504285/index.html

http://www.kitv.com/video/21505170/index.html

http://www.kitv.com/video/21509956/index.html

It's a classic catch-22 situation. If we as consumers expect more frequent inspections of restaurants, then it will result in the things that folks like to moan and groan about, like higher menu prices or already-struggling establishments closing down all together because they can't hack a hike in inspection fees.
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  #2  
Old November 3rd, 2009, 02:58 PM
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Default Re: 12 inspectors + 6,000 eateries = bleaahh!!!

I like California, they put the grade and points received on the front window.
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  #3  
Old November 3rd, 2009, 03:35 PM
Ron Whitfield Ron Whitfield is offline
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Default Re: 12 inspectors + 6,000 eateries = bleaahh!!!

I've stated my complaints before with the less than acceptable abilities of the HD, and now it's worse.

I guess it'll take a high ranking Gov. official or their nearest kin to get deathly ill from contamination to get this even reversed.
I nonminate our Governor.
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  #4  
Old November 3rd, 2009, 04:10 PM
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Default Re: 12 inspectors + 6,000 eateries = bleaahh!!!

Does Honolulu have a simple method of checking the results of restaurant inspections?

The City of New York makes it fairly easy.

This may have negative long-term repercussions for budding small businesses trying to get ahead in the restaurant biz as well as public health.

In the third world, the rule of thumb (for tourists especially) is to go to a busy restaurant. It'll be an even greater uphill battle for a new (clean) restaurant with talented, sincere owners to stick around.

Last edited by Vanguard; November 3rd, 2009 at 04:31 PM.
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  #5  
Old November 3rd, 2009, 05:50 PM
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Default Re: 12 inspectors + 6,000 eateries = bleaahh!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vanguard View Post
Does Honolulu have a simple method of checking the results of restaurant inspections?
Compared to other localities that have the inspection reports available online, no. But as Keoki Kerr reported, it all comes down to not having enough $$$$.

Quote:
Many mainland cities and counties have easy-to-use Web-based restaurant inspection systems like one from Sacramento, Calif., that the public can access 24 hours a day online. Type in a restaurant name and you get the most recent, detailed report.

In Hawaii, it is a much slower and cumbersome process. people have to go to the health department in person to request the inspection paperwork.

Restaurant inspections are still written by hand in the islands. If you want a report, you have to pay 50 cents per page to get them copied.

"Let's get into the 21st century, where consumers and restaurant-goers can go and research before going out and having a meal," Oshiro said.

During KITV's last investigation of restaurant inspections three years ago, health officials told us it would take three to five years to computerize their records, if they got $300,000 in funding. That money was not appropriated, so no progress has been made.
So should $300,000 be raised through an increase in the restaurant licensing fees? Business owners who are struggling will squawk. Should it be appropriated from the general fund? Parents who are already upset about the public school furloughs will squawk. Like almost everything else about the state's fiscal crisis, tough decisions have to be made and none of the choices are pleasant.
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  #6  
Old November 3rd, 2009, 08:01 PM
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Default Re: 12 inspectors + 6,000 eateries = bleaahh!!!

The equation in this thread's title should be formulated as 6,000 eateries 12 Inspectors = bleahh!!!. Which would equal 500 restaurants for each inspector to cover. Scary.

Back in 2006, KITV also broadcasted/published this report:

Restaurant Inspections Find Maggots, Roaches In Food, Drinks
Inspectors Investigate Complaints From Customers


It's been suggested that the busiest restaurants will often have the most questionable sanitation conditions due to the dynamics in the kitchen.

Obviously if the place is slow, staff will have more time to keep things clean than to cook.
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  #7  
Old November 3rd, 2009, 08:22 PM
Ron Whitfield Ron Whitfield is offline
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Default Re: 12 inspectors + 6,000 eateries = bleaahh!!!

I think it's rare that you find an owner or mgrs. that care enuf to make sure proper sanitary practices are followed when behind closed doors. I generally am picky and prefer to eat at joints were I can see what's happening. But you still don't know what's happening 100%
Even (especially!) if it's just my tacos from JIB, I feel better knowing no shenanigans went on. My 1st job was at an LA JIB in '70, and woe should anyone irritate us...
BTW, never send your food back to the kitchen for any reason!
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  #8  
Old November 3rd, 2009, 08:23 PM
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Default Re: 12 inspectors + 6,000 eateries = bleaahh!!!

This is the part that really annoyed me when I watched this video last night. From the KITV story:
Quote:
The state collects about $700,000 a year from the restaurant permit fee, and spends only $300,000 of that on inspector and restaurant employee training.

Most of the money, $400,000, goes back to the general fund to be spent on other things.
If I were a restaurateur, I'd be demanding that any permit fees I pay (which I'm probably told will go to pay the Health Department for inspections) actually be spent on those things, not just dumped into the General Fund for politicians to spend on other items.

http://www.kitv.com/health/21503331/...tml#COMMENTTOP
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  #9  
Old November 3rd, 2009, 09:32 PM
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Default Re: 12 inspectors + 6,000 eateries = bleaahh!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Linkmeister View Post
If I were a restaurateur, I'd be demanding that any permit fees I pay (which I'm probably told will go to pay the Health Department for inspections) actually be spent on those things, not just dumped into the General Fund for politicians to spend on other items.
I noticed that as well. But read the article carefully.

Quote:
The state collects about $700,000 a year from the restaurant permit fee, and spends only $300,000 of that on inspector and restaurant employee training.
So that $300,000 figure is for training. It is not pay for the inspectors.

So just where does the pay for the health inspectors come from? Ding!! Ding!! That's right, the state's general fund.

Now, if you take the $400,000 from the restaurant fees that goes into the general fund and divided it up among 12 inspectors, that would come out to an average salary of $33,333. I don't know what the salary range for health inspectors in this state is, but Salary.com says that the median salary for a health inspector in this country is $44,625, with a lowball figure of $33,470. So the Hawaii restaurant fees alone (at its present rate) would not quite cover paying for 12 lowball salaries, let alone pay for the hiring of new inspectors.

At any rate, it would appear that if more inspectors are to be hired, then restaurants will have to pay a higher fee. And inevitably, that cost will end up being passed on to the customers.

Last edited by Frankie's Market; November 3rd, 2009 at 09:40 PM.
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  #10  
Old November 10th, 2009, 09:03 PM
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Default Re: 12 inspectors + 6,000 eateries = bleaahh!!!

We need entrepeneurs to start up rating services that restaurant goers can consult. It's in the restaurants' interest to have a rating system that gives customers confidence that wholesome food is served, so the restaurants should be willing to pay for rating services. After starting up such systems, there's no need for government to remain involved.
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  #11  
Old December 3rd, 2009, 12:33 AM
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Default Re: 12 inspectors + 6,000 eateries = bleaahh!!!

http://www.khon2.com/news/local/stor...hsJnubxoQ.cspx

I ordered the rat pudding.
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  #12  
Old December 3rd, 2009, 02:59 AM
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Default Re: 12 inspectors + 6,000 eateries = bleaahh!!!

At home, with my fresh-picked fruit from my trees, occasionally I get bugs. (I never get poisons.

Granted, restaurants are, and should be, held to a higher standard - perhaps on a sliding scale associated with their prices?

You get what you pay for....?

What if you are paying for poison vs. bugs?

Bugs are easier to detect and eliminate; poison is invisible and insidious.

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  #13  
Old December 6th, 2009, 07:34 PM
Walkoff Balk Walkoff Balk is offline
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Default Re: 12 inspectors + 6,000 eateries = bleaahh!!!

http://tv.msn.com/tv/article.aspx?news=445463&GT1=28103

Can eat?
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  #14  
Old December 7th, 2009, 11:23 AM
Ron Whitfield Ron Whitfield is offline
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Default Wow...

...3 roach burger lovers here, eh?
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  #15  
Old December 7th, 2009, 02:14 PM
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Default Re: 12 inspectors + 6,000 eateries = bleaahh!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by GregLee View Post
We need entrepeneurs to start up rating services that restaurant goers can consult. It's in the restaurants' interest to have a rating system that gives customers confidence that wholesome food is served, so the restaurants should be willing to pay for rating services. After starting up such systems, there's no need for government to remain involved.
Restaurants and private business owners can talk they heads off all day giving lip service about promoting health and safety awareness within the food service industry and policing themselves. That doesn't change the irrefutable fact that health inspections of restaurants are, first and foremost, in the general public/consumer's interests. Restaurants are businesses, whose primary interest is to turn a large-enough profit. It has to be,..... because if the restaurant doesn't make enough money, then it won't survive no matter everything else they may be doing right.

Think about it. It's one thing to have a private entity like Zagat's or AAA to post reviews of various restaurants. But do you really want a private entity to likewise make evaluations of the health/sanitation conditions of the establishments? What if some restaurants try to pay a bribe to the inspector in order to sweep a bad report under the rug? And if paying bribes become a commonplace practice within this non-govt. based inspection system, then what would be the accountability to the public? If the inspectors worked for the state and they took a bribe, then there would be a public outcry, an investigation, and heads would roll. If it's a private organization calling the shots, then who knows? Hey, a private entity doesn't have to answer to taxpayers or legislators. Even if they do conduct an investigation for corruption, would they make the results public or keep it hush-hush in order to preserve the image of the organization.

Sorry Greg, but your idea has the potential to create many more problems than it solves.

Last edited by Frankie's Market; December 7th, 2009 at 02:29 PM.
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  #16  
Old December 7th, 2009, 06:28 PM
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Default Re: 12 inspectors + 6,000 eateries = bleaahh!!!

I noticed one person (so far) has voted to stay at home rather than dine out. But that's no guarantee that one won't be impacted by the infrequency of health inspections in this state. As these reports show, depending on where you do your grocery shopping,....

KHON

KGMB/KHNL

KITV
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  #17  
Old December 7th, 2009, 08:02 PM
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Default Re: 12 inspectors + 6,000 eateries = bleaahh!!!

I think most restaurants are smart enough not to let things get to the point the people get sick. It's really bad for business to get that reputation.
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  #18  
Old December 7th, 2009, 09:30 PM
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Default Re: Wow...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Whitfield View Post
...3 roach burger lovers here, eh?
Just extra protein! Crunch, crunch!
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  #19  
Old December 7th, 2009, 10:41 PM
Ron Whitfield Ron Whitfield is offline
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Default Hmmm...

Da goils I've been 'familiar' with enjoyed their extra protein... in the... er... no-crunch flavor.
Still kinda squiggly goin down tho, eh!
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  #20  
Old December 12th, 2009, 12:50 AM
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Default Re: 12 inspectors + 6,000 eateries = bleaahh!!!

http://www.khon2.com/news/local/stor...yRr7BvObA.cspx

At least it's washed.
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  #21  
Old December 16th, 2009, 04:03 PM
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Default Re: 12 inspectors + 6,000 eateries = bleaahh!!!

The film that made everyone afraid to go into the water...



and now...





This was published in this week's Midweek (Cartoonist Roy Chang gave permission to post it here on HT).


Meanwhile, the state rejects rat plan for Chinatown market.
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  #22  
Old December 21st, 2009, 09:40 PM
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Default Re: 12 inspectors + 6,000 eateries = bleaahh!!!

The Advertiser says that Honolulu is down to 9 inspectors. Naturally, this will only lengthen the time between routine restaurant inspections, which is now up to 30 months.

Quote:
The number of food establishments to inspectors on O'ahu is more than four times higher than what is recommended by the federal Food and Drug Administration. Industry guidelines also recommend establishments be inspected at least annually and up to four times a year for higher-risk establishments.
Quote:
Peter Oshiro, supervisor for the standards office in the state Health Department's sanitation branch, said the only high-risk establishments on O'ahu inspected yearly are school cafeterias. Otherwise, he said, inspectors largely respond to complaints and do comparatively little on-site prevention.

"It's crisis management," he said.
This is a joke. You would think that in the 21st century, the whole idea of a health inspection program is to be proactive and to have establishment owners be responsible for taking preventative measures. But as even the state supervisor admits, his dept. is so hopelessly understaffed and underfunded that they are basically taking action after complaints have been received. By that time, it's already too late when people have gotten sick!
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  #23  
Old March 12th, 2010, 03:47 PM
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Default Re: 12 inspectors + 6,000 eateries = bleaahh!!!

Yet another consumer alert: Beware of tilapia that is being sold at the Kam Swap Meet. KHON is reporting that a man selling fish there is making his catches at a polluted drainage canal. Yuck!!!!
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  #24  
Old March 12th, 2010, 04:47 PM
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Default Re: 12 inspectors + 6,000 eateries = bleaahh!!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frankie's Market View Post
Yet another consumer alert: Beware of tilapia that is being sold at the Kam Swap Meet. KHON is reporting that a man selling fish there is making his catches at a polluted drainage canal. Yuck!!!!
I wouldn't buy any fish at the kam swap meet. Just look at those cloudy eyes in the fish and that tells ya this stuff has been out toooooo long.
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  #25  
Old March 15th, 2010, 12:53 PM
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Default Re: Food safety alerts

In today's Honolulu Advertiser...

Hawaii moves to beef up restaurant inspections

Quote:
On the heels of figures that show a staggering 82 percent of food establishments inspected on O'ahu last fiscal year had major violations, lawmakers are looking to beef up the state's restaurant inspections system.

A bill moving through the Legislature would allow the Health Department to use the fees it gets from restaurants to hire more inspectors and put food violation records online.
If the restaurants need to raise their menu prices to compensate for this inspection fee/fine, I'm fine with that (in contrary of what I voted in the poll). I can afford a $7 versus a $6 plate lunch more than I can a sore stomach or worse.

Think the publishing of violating restaurants online will help curb the problem?
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Last edited by Pomai; March 15th, 2010 at 12:57 PM.
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