The state Department of Health fined a Waikiki health food restaurant $9,000 for hiding a yellow “Conditional Pass” placard, indicating the restaurant had major food code violations.
Heavenly Island Lifestyle at 342 Seaside Ave. hid the yellow placard behind a “Please Wait to Be Seated” sign, the Health Department said in a news release today.
“Only authorized DOH agents may post or remove a color-coded placard indicating the compliance status of a food establishment,” the department said.
Heavenly, owned by Tokyo-based Zetton Inc., describes itself as “a natural health food all day cafe and diner” on its website.
“Food safety placard hiding or removal are serious violations with substantial consequences because it intentionally places profit above health and safety, and compromises the public’s trust and their right-to-know when violations occur during an inspection,” said Peter Oshiro, environmental health program manager at the Health Department.
Health officials said it is rare for a restaurant not to display the green, yellow or red placards. This was only the fifth incident involving hiding or removing a placard since the program started in February 2014.
They said the department’s “food safety program has conducted over 20,500 inspections and issued more than 3,500 yellow ‘Conditional Pass’ placards for occurrences of multiple major food safety violations. Of the 3,500 yellow placards issued, only three have resulted in red ‘closed’ placards due to non-compliance.”
The Health Department said it issued the yellow placard at Heavenly after an April 6 routine inspection found several major code violations, “including bare-hand contact with ready-to-eat foods, improper glove use, hand-washing, sink maintenance, improper sanitizing, improper cooling, and cold holding temperatures of potentially hazardous food items.”
At a follow-up inspection on April 10, the inspector saw the Heavenly yellow placard was hidden. The restaurant corrected all the violations and a green “Pass” placard was issued, which is currently posted at the facility, health officials said.
Heavenly has 20 days to request a hearing to contest the fine.