State legislators and their staff have been busy whipping up homemade goods for the annual Hawaii Food Bank fundraiser. The effort to raise cash lasts from January to early May and features a variety of fares, from Filipino food to brownies ala mode.
“Any legislator good with fundraisers often has baked goods from their constituents, so that’s what we find here,” said Rep. Tom Brower.
However, unbeknownst to many of the men and women who craft Hawaii’s laws, almost any food sold outside a restaurant or certified kitchen requires a permit.
“These are short-term events or sales that are going to distribute food to the general public,” explains State Environmental Health Program Manager Peter Oshiro. “Anybody that has or wants to do those types of sales is required to get a temporary food establishment permit from the Health Department.”
Lawmakers organizing the annual drive for the food bank were caught off guard when approached by KITV4 about the need for a Department of Health permit.
“We make the laws here and it wouldn’t be prudent if we didn’t follow the laws that we make, and so it’s all about compliance,” said Vice-Speaker John Mizuno. “I’ll make sure that whenever we send memos at the kickoff of the Hawaii Food Bank fundraising effort, that we attach forms so that offices will know how to be in compliance.”
About 500 temporary food establishment permits are issued by the Health Department every month. Oshiro says the department just wants to make sure that all food is safe.