A fast fix for food safety

Published On: Aug 06 2014 05:13:41 AM HST   Updated On: Jul 23 2014 07:35:55 AM HST

A day after the Department of Health started up its new restaurant rating system, at least two eateries that received yellow violation placards have quickly corrected their problems.

Click here to watch Paul Drewes' story.

For drivers, yellow lights mean caution and slow down, but for diners a yellow inspection placard means restaurants should get busy -- cleaning up.

"The object of this system is not to be punitive, to leave these yellow placards up as long as possible but to get the violations corrected as quickly as possible," said Peter Oshiro, with the Department of Health.

Nico's Restaurant at Pier 38 - got a yellow placard on the first day of the state's new restaurant ranking system, but asked for another inspection a day later.

"The inspector came yesterday and found three things that needed to changed, and I said come back tomorrow and they will be fixed," said Nico Chaize.

Now Nico's has a green "pass" placard on the front door so everyone can see how it did on its latest health inspection.

"I think its good for the customer. It shows that the state is in charge and the inspection system is working. It is a good thing," said Chaize.

Some diners took notice of the green "pass" sign and said they like the easy system of identification.

"It is definitely reassurance. No one wants to get food poisoning, and it's good to know you're eating at a place that's clean"

A yellow placard indicates a restaurant had two or more violations. Anything from refrigeration temperatures being too warm - to an eatery not having soap or a separate sink for hand washing.

"If we see utensils in that sink -- that's a violation. They're not supposed to use the sink for anything except hand washing," said Oshiro.

Would posting a yellow placard at a restaurant deter people from eating there?

"If I see the yellow, not immediately. But if I come back and see the red or green then yeah the placard will determine if I go there," said Honolulu resident Emily Stevenson.

"We've got a toddler. So the more sterile the conditions the better. We definitely have a concern for his livelihood, so a yellow sign would make us look around more to see if the place is really clean," stated Albuquerque resident Casey Ault.

There were six Oahu restaurants that initially received the yellow placard. Those that still have their conditional pass placard on Wednesday will get another visit from state inspectors.

New food inspection placards

Click here to see the new food inspection placards.


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