Monday, December 21, 2009


Department of Health refuses to inspect Chinatown markets—be warned

by Larry Geller

DOH said there are no immediate plans to inspect other Chinatown markets for rats or other pests.

Rats It seems the rat video may result in better food-handling practices at Kekaulike Market. But not because the Department of Health was doing their job—because they were caught not doing their job. They didn’t inspect, they didn’t cite, they didn’t educate.

Today’s Advertiser followup by reporter Mary Vorsino, Honolulu County has just 9 food inspectors, confirms that the DOH will continue to do nothing to make sure that the other Chinatown markets are safe:

Lynne Matusow, of the Downtown Neighborhood Board, said vendors at Kekaulike Market "would have needed a lot more oversight" to follow food safety regulations, but also said the rat problem has been in Chinatown for years so concentrating on one market likely won't do much in the way of tackling it.

DOH said there are no immediate plans to inspect other Chinatown markets for rats or other pests.

The current situation has nothing to do with the economic crisis, these markets went uninspected when there was a budget surplus.

Should we be thinking of new legislation—for example, making landlords responsible for sanitary conditions if food is to be sold on their premises? That would share the burden of inspections and bring pest control professionals into the picture.

The new educational program and one-shot inspection of Kekaulike Market merchants are good things, but mere bandaids.

The rats have no doubt moved on–jaywalking probably, the varmints–across Hotel or King Streets, into the other markets, where they are safe from Hawaii’s Department of Health.


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