DOH NEWS RELEASE: Department of Health cites Zetton, Inc., dba Heavenly, for food code violations & unlawfully hiding placard

Posted on Apr 19, 2017 in Latest News

HONOLULU – The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) has issued a Notice of Violation and Order against Zetton Inc., dba Heavenly, for $9,000 for intentionally hiding the posted yellow “Conditional Pass” placard, which was the result of other food safety violations found during a routine health inspection. The placard was obstructed by a “Please Wait To Be Seated” sign and not clearly visible to the public. Heavenly, located at 342 Seaside Avenue, has 20 days to request a hearing to contest the notice.

“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. “Since the start of the new placarding program, we’ve seen excellent compliance from the food industry; this is only the fifth incident involving camouflaging or removing a placard.”

On Thursday, April 6, 2017, DOH conducted a routine inspection at Heavenly and issued a yellow placard for seven major food code violations. A yellow placard is issued if there are two or more major violations observed during an inspection. Major violations are those conditions known to cause foodborne illnesses as recognized by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Heavenly was cited for major violations including bare hand contact with ready-to-eat foods, improper glove use, handwashing, sink maintenance, improper sanitizing, improper cooling, and cold holding temperatures of potentially hazardous food items.

The yellow placard was posted by a DOH inspector at the facility following the health inspection. When a follow-up inspection was conducted on April 10, 2017, the inspector observed that the yellow placard was hidden by a “Please Wait To Be Seated” sign, causing the placard to no longer be clearly visible as required by law. The yellow “Conditional Pass” placard was left posted by the inspector after the follow-up visit since there was still one outstanding major violation.

DOH conducted another follow-up inspection on April 12, 2017, and all outstanding major violations were found to be corrected. A green “Pass” placard was issued and is currently posted at the facility.

Only authorized DOH agents may post or remove a color-coded placard indicating the compliance status of a food establishment.

Under the new restaurant placarding program, DOH’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 3 have resulted in red “closed” placards due to non-compliance.

Oshiro added, “The placarding program has produced a phenomenal 99.8% voluntary compliance rate. Members from across the state’s restaurant, hotel, retail and food manufacturing industries have done an amazing job in embracing the new Food Safety Placarding Program, which is responsible for the nearly 100% voluntary compliance rate.”

The DOH Sanitation Branch protects and promotes the health of Hawaii residents and visitors through education of food industry workers and regulation of food establishments statewide. The branch conducts routine health inspections of food establishments where food products are prepared, manufactured, distributed, or sold. The branch also investigates the sources of foodborne illnesses and potential adulteration; and is charged with mitigating foodborne outbreaks and/or the prevention of future occurrences. Health inspectors work with business owners, food service workers, and the food industry to ensure safe food preparation practices and sanitary conditions.

For more information on the department’s new restaurant placarding program go to http://health.hawaii.gov/san/.

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Janice Okubo

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Phone: (808) 586-4445