Seaweed, straight from the drainage ditch, leads to citation for Hawaiian Chinatown store

Ogonori, also called ogo or sea moss, is a type of edible seaweed eaten along the coasts of Japan, Southeast Asia, Hawaii, and the Caribbean. Ogonori is typically eaten cold and, for the up-and-coming microbiologists in the crowd who have spent hours autoclaving, ogo is a source of the thickener agar.

Apparently it’s easy to find – in Hawaii.

A seafood and produce store in Chinatown was cited by a Department of Health sanitarian Friday after a KHON2 report showed a man picking ogo from a drainage canal at Ala Moana Beach Park and then selling it to the owner of the business.

A Sanitation Branch inspector cited Cruzzette Store owner Felicidad Dela Cruz for purchasing ogo from an “unapproved source.”  Dela Cruz faced a fine of up to $1,000 a day had she continued to purchase ogo from the man captured on Thursday’s video by KHON2.

“She said that if somebody gonna get sick it will be my fault,” said Dela Cruz, as she described her conversation with the health inspector.

When asked what she had learned about food safety, Dela Cruz was quick to reply.

 “To know where my product (is) coming from and to be safe,” she said in broken English.  “I don’t want anybody get sick.”