Bakery Pays $20,000 in DOH Settlement
After accruing $90,000 in fines to the state Department of Health in 2012 for sanitation violations, Kanemitsu Bakery has reached an agreement with the DOH to pay $20,000 instead.
DOH Communications Officer Janice Okubo said the settlement was reached outside Hawaii’s court system during hearings within the DOH that are scheduled when someone has an objection or concern about a penalty or notice of violation.
“I’m very satisfied,” said Kanemitsu Bakery owner George Kanemitsu of the resolution. “There’s no way we could have paid [the original $90,000 fine].”
Kanemitsu said the bakery’s operations are back on track after a six-month closure in 2012 following the violations.
The bakery’s operations were suspended for several days in April of that year, when a routine DOH inspection found “numerous health code violations.” In June, an anonymous complaint alleging contaminated baked goods was filed with the DOH. A subsequent inspection found “serious deficiencies in the maintenance and manufacturing practices,” according to DOH, and the bakery’s permit was suspended.
The DOH came up with a checklist to help the bakery correct sanitation shortfalls, and contractors — many of whom volunteered their labor — worked to make the changes, which included installing new drywall, paint job by industrial painting contractors, resurfacing floors and tabletops, and rodent- and insect-proofing the facility.
The bakery’s permit was reinstated in November 2012, after passing a final inspection.
At that time, DOH environmental health program manager Peter Oshiro called the improvement from June to November “tremendous.”
“We expect that Kanemitsu Bakery will comply with all food safety rules and regulations,” said Gary Gill, DOH deputy director of Environmental Health, last week. “It is both a legal requirement and a moral responsibility to ensure that food sold to the public is safe, wholesome and uncontaminated.”
The family-owned bakery has been operating for more than 75 years.