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Health department fines food distributor over unpermitted warehouse

  • KOHAFOODS.COM

    Koha Oriental Foods website.

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    Koha Oriental Foods’ warehouse at 94-150 Leokane St.

Koha Oriental Foods has been fined $100,000 by the state Department of Health for allegedly operating a food storage warehouse in Waipahu without a state permit from November 2015 to August 2016.

The health department’s sanitation branch issued a notice of violation related to Koha Oriental Foods’ warehouse at 94-150 Leokane St. where it said the company stored frozen seafood, among other products, for sale and distribution.

The company has been ordered to pay an administrative penalty of $100,000 and may contest the order at a hearing.

While investigating Oahu’s Hepatitis A outbreak in August, the Health Department said it discovered the unpermitted food warehouse, which had been operating from October 2015 without a state food establishment permit.

The department said Koha Oriental Foods immediately applied for and received a permit.

Food companies without health department permits face fines of up to $1,000 per day for each violation.

“In this case, when determining the monetary penalty amount, we considered the lower risk factors involved in operating a static frozen food storage facility where food is not prepared and directly handled by the employees,” Peter Oshiro, sanitation branch chief, said in a statement. “Operating without a permit is a serious matter, and under state rules the company could have been fined nearly $300,000 for conducting business operations at the facility without a permit for almost a year.”

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