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Fake inspectors calling restaurants

Restaurants across the state are being warned that fake health inspectors seeking sensitive information about employers and employees have been reported on Maui and Oahu.

The state Department of Health said restaurant managers should ask for proper identification if approached by people they are not familiar with identifying themselves as inspectors. Restaurateurs can also call the Health Department for verification.

In five instances reported to the department, a male caller has contacted restaurants claiming he was investigating complaints and would be coming at a later date to make an inspection. The Health Department’s Sanitation Branch has received reports from three restaurants on Maui and two on Oahu.

Similar scams are happening on the mainland, the department said, as scammers try to find sensitive information about employers and employees.

Health Department officials said they normally do not call food establishments prior to a routine inspection or when investigating a complaint, and inspectors are required to wear or display their department-issued identification.

Those with questions about health inspectors should call 586-8000, while those with questions about food and drug inspectors should call the Food and Drug Branch at 586-4725. On the neighbor islands, call 933-0917 (Hilo), 322-1507 (Kona), 241-3323 (Kauai) or 984-8230 (Maui).



Ranchers hurt by drought

LIHUE » One of the wettest spots on Earth has received only about two-thirds of the rain it normally gets.

Mount Waialeale on Kauai on average receives 246 inches of rain over the first seven months of a year. It got only 151.6 inches this year, or 62 percent of normal.

Kauai is the least affected by the drought hitting the major Hawaiian islands.

Kauai Farm Bureau President Roy Oyama says cattle ranchers have been badly affected.

He says some ranchers are trying to sell as much cattle as possible but have been unable to make much money on them.

Oyama says crops that depend on irrigation have done better than irrigated crops on other islands.


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