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Hawaii to start enforcing education requirement for food handlers

The state Health Department is reminding all permitted restaurants and food establishments that a new food handlers education course requirement will be enforced, starting Sept. 4.

Both existing and new permit holders must complete a food handlers education course approved by the department. The new requirement — the result of an amendment to the current law — went into effect Sept. 2, 2017, but the department gave the industry a year to meet the new standards.

“Extensive studies have shown food establishments with managers formally trained in food safety have fewer occurrences of critical violations during routine inspection,” said sanitation branch manager Peter Oshiro in a news release. “This lowers the risk of contracting a food-borne illness by the public. This is a true win-win situation for the food establishments and for public health.”

The new training requirement also applies to individuals and organizations that intend to distribute food at special events (and therefore need a special event permit) and purveyors of homemade food who distribute products such as cookies and breads directly to consumers.

Proof of certification recognized by the American National Standards Institute will be required during health inspections beginning Sept. 4.

Food Safety classes which offer a basic understanding of food microbiology, major foodborne illnesses and safe food preparation, are offered at no charge by the Health Department statewide. To sign up, visit this link.

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