Health officials exploring mandatory training for Hawaiian food businesses

Our weekends are dominated by hockey. Jack, the 7-year-old, practices early Saturday morning with games are Sundays. Sam, the 5-year-old, starts a learn to play hockey class this weekend.

Last year I went through 8 hours of in-class instruction and 10 hours of online modules to qualify as a volunteer assistant coach. The worse thing I can do is accidentally hit a kid in the helmet with a puck or fall on one (both of those things have happened this year) but the training is required – and it made me a better coach.

It’s not like I’m handling food that people eat, where if I mess up people could get sick and die.

According to KHON2, Hawaiian health department folks are looking at mandatory food safety education for all food establishments in response to a bunch of poor inspections (maybe this is manager training, maybe for all food employees; I’m not sure).

The state health department says it may soon be asking food establishments to undergo mandatory food safety education in wake of a string of “red-carded” Oahu businesses in October.

Of the over 10,000 restaurant inspections done statewide since July 2014, the DOH says 2,000 restaurants had two or more critical violations. So what has the state learned since the placard system for food establishments was put in place? “One thing in our rules we’re probably going to change later on in the year is have a mandatory food safety education for all restaurants and food establishments in Hawaii,” said Peter Oshiro with the Department of Health.

Since fixing their violations, the North Shore bakery says it’s busier than usual.

“That’s great for the bakery,” Oshiro said. “For us, all we’re concerned with is that they correct violations that impact public health.”

Inspectors also discovered employees were not following proper hygiene or hand-washing rules, something Oshiro says is considered, “one of the most common violations in food establishments.”
“It looks like they may need some form of food safety education so hopefully they might agree to something like that,” Oshiro said.

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About Ben Chapman

Dr. Ben Chapman is a professor and food safety extension specialist at North Carolina State University. As a teenager, a Saturday afternoon viewing of the classic cable movie, Outbreak, sparked his interest in pathogens and public health. With the goal of less foodborne illness, his group designs, implements, and evaluates food safety strategies, messages, and media from farm-to-fork. Through reality-based research, Chapman investigates behaviors and creates interventions aimed at amateur and professional food handlers, managers, and organizational decision-makers; the gate keepers of safe food. Ben co-hosts a biweekly podcast called Food Safety Talk and tries to further engage folks online through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and, maybe not surprisingly, Pinterest. Follow on Twitter @benjaminchapman.