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Kokua Line

‘Dumpster diving’ restaurants can be reported to state agency

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QUESTION: A couple of restaurants in our neighborhood that are near supermarkets regularly retrieve discarded food from the markets’ trash bins, including eggs and vegetables (not sure about meat), likely to be used by the restaurant. Is this against any regulations and if so, who should be contacted? What kind of supporting evidence is needed?

ANSWER: Not surprisingly, this practice is against Section 11-12-30 of the state Department of Health’s Hawaii Administrative Rules, which requires that a food establishment only serve food obtained from an approved source.

Surprisingly, "This is nothing new or unheard of," said Sidney Doi of the department’s Sanitation Branch. "Over the years, there have been a number of complaints of ‘Dumpster diving’ reported from different areas of the island."

However, to his knowledge, no fines (up to $1,000 per violation per day) or penalties have been imposed, likely because inspectors were not able to catch anyone in the act or otherwise confirm the allegations.

The Sanitation Branch has never had the manpower to conduct extensive surveillance activities, Doi said.

Complaints should be directed to the Sanitation Branch; on Oahu, call 586-8000. Doi said no "evidence" is required, but you should provide as many details as possible.

"Our inspector will contact both the alleged perpetrators (the restaurant) and the supermarkets during the investigation," he said.

Recycling CD Cases

We received numerous responses to a reader asking whether there was any recycling option for used CD jewel cases (Kokua Line, Nov. 19).

It turns out there are many organizations that could use them, including the nonprofit, all-volunteer Makiki Community Library (www.makiki.info/makiki-community-library); the Hawaii State Public Library System (586-3500); and the nonprofit Hawaii Jaycees’ Adopt-A-School Day program (adoptaschoolday.org or e-mail info@astopaschoolday.org).

(For those of you with other items to donate, particularly to schools, check out Community Helping Schools — www.communityhelpingschools.org — a small, all-volunteer nonprofit group that collects teachers’ wish lists and matches them with donors.)

Other readers suggested offering them to a school art department, city Parks and Recreation program or YMCA/YWCA branch for craft projects; or posting them on craigslist.org or The Freecycle Network at freecycle.org.

Mahalo

To a sweet young woman who showed this 80-year-old what the Aloha Spirit is all about. I went to the drive-through lane at the KFC in Kailua about 11:30 a.m. Sunday and presented her with a sheet of coupons. I just needed one coupon for my meal. She said I should keep the other coupons to use later. I said I live alone and have no family, so told her to keep the other coupons to give to a family who might appreciate them. She looked at me for a moment, then asked, "Where are you spending Thanksgiving?" I said, "Alone, but I don’t mind." Then she said, "You know, would you like to come to my family’s home for Thanksgiving? I live in Waimanalo and we have a big family and we’d love to have you." I thanked her, but said I preferred not to go out. As I drove away, I had tears in my eyes. I was so touched by her gesture — inviting a stranger to spend Thanksgiving with her family. — Ilene Goldman

Write to "Kokua Line" at Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Honolulu 96813; call 529-4773; fax 529-4750; or e-mail kokualine@staradvertiser.com.

 

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