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Kanemitsu Bakery Permit Suspended, Renovations Planned Soon

For the second time in four months, Kanemitsu Bakery’s permit has been suspended after a June 20th inspection found “serious deficiencies in the maintenance and manufacturing practices,” according to the Department of Health (DOH). The department says the makers of the famous Molokai hot bread and other sweet specialties won’t be baking until they correct sanitation violations.

The restaurant portion of the business remains open because it operates from a separate, permitted kitchen. Despite what bakery owner George Kanemitsu calls “this heavy bomb [of the] revoked permit,” Kanemitsu remains optimistic for a speedy reopening of the bakery. He said renovations of the facility are scheduled to start this week.

“Hopefully we are going to be open by this weekend if everything goes well,” he said.

The recent DOH investigation was completed after the department received an anonymous public complaint on June 15 that alleged insects and other foreign substances were found in their baked goods. During the inspection, rodents were seen in the facility; other violations included no water available at the rinse compartment of the sink, unclean food preparation surfaces, no soap and hand towels at hand washing sinks, and general unsanitary conditions, according to the DOH.

“Usually we don’t see any rodents… but that day it just so happened one was running around,” said Kanemitsu, adding they bring in a company to do rodent and insect control once a month.

In response to the complaint, Kanemitsu said there was “one small ant inside the bread,” adding his staff checked the rest of that batch of baked goods from that day and couldn’t find any other specimens.

“That was the first time we had something like that,” said Kanemitsu.

The DOH said it is working with the bakery to make the necessary improvements.

“In order to assist Kanemitsu Bakery in correcting the conditions that led to the permit
suspension, the DOH is working closely with the owner and providing a check-list of concerns that need to be addressed by the facility in order for their permit to be reinstated,” stated a DOH press release.

Kanemitsu said renovations will include replacing the bakery floor, windows and dry wall. He said health inspectors are coming from Honolulu on Tuesday and he will have a better idea of what changes are required after their visit. Some community members are donating their time to assist in the renovations, and Kanemitsu said he is not yet sure how much the repairs will cost.

A hearing on the permit suspension has been postponed indefinitely, according to DOH officials.

History of Violations
The bakery’s revoked permit comes within four months of another DOH-mandated suspension of operations for three days in March. A routine DOH inspection found similar health violations and the bakery was fined $90,000. Kanemitsu hired an attorney and appealed the fines. A hearing on the fines is scheduled for November.

Back in 2000, the bakery was also fined $90,000 for sanitation violations. Kanemitsu said most of those fines were eventually waived.

The family-owned bakery has been operating for more than 75 years. No illness has been reported from consuming its products, according to the DOH.


7 Responses to “Kanemitsu Bakery Permit Suspended, Renovations Planned Soon”

  1. mkk808 says:

    They hope to reopen by the weekend, really? Kanemitsu’s should really take this opportunity to make the Catholics down the road: Burn it down and rebuild!! The place is DISGUSTING! He says that was the ONE day that there was ONE rodent running around AND it was only one small ant in the bread, really that’s his defense? We all know that is a damn lie. Go there on any other day adn you see the flies buzzing around in the CLOSED pastry cabinet. As a lifelong Kama’aina, I am completely offended that the Kanemitsu bakery does not feel the need OR desire to service our island with anything but crap! Crappy donuts, crappy customer service (do we really have to order SLICED bread a whole day in advance?) crappy environment and to top it all off…………….Hot bread is not even HOT anymore!!! Bottom line, the bakery sucks and should take this time to clean up their act! buss the building down and rebuild. Hire new cooks, train your staff and make it a nice place to go.

  2. MolokaiCrabbe says:

    Its High Time that SOMEBODY did SOMETHING about the PUTRID stench, and disgusting facilities at this business. Years have passed and Kanemitsu’s Bakery has made millions on the backs of Molokai residents and TOURIST, and kamaaina. What have they done. Spit in the face of Molokai. Personally, these two peoples, Blossom Poepoe and George Kanemitsu have not accepted responsibility at all. the continue to deny the fact that they have a RAT INFESTED BUILDING and CONTINUE TO SERVE VERMIN (doo doo) to Molokai is solid, liquid and odor forms.

    Kanemitsu has historically let their Grease Trap overflow into the streets for years.

    People walk over the grease trap waste while standing in line for Hot Bread, the iconic sale for Kanemitsu Bakery.

    Anyone who has stood in the line will attest to this fact. It is common knowledge.

    ENOUGH ALREADY. I dont believe that they will comply. They will find more excuses. I have been on Molokai since 1997 and have not seen this business renovated, improved, upgrade, nor cleaned on a regular basis.

    Flies infest the pastry display and clerks laugh.

    Fact is also that Kanemitsu’s even defied the NO SMOKING IN RESTAURANT ban issues for Months! Sheer arrogance!

    If the State looks closer, there are MORE PROBLEMS with regards to other DOH issues in the labor department.

    IF THE COUNTY BUILDING DEPARTMENT INSPECTS THE PREMISE, they will find MANY major violations of Building Codes.

    TO THE STATE of HAWAII: Do you deserve this treatment?

    I think NOT! To Molokais residents, speak out. If you dont, you will be the looser…………….as you have been already!

    Bachi, Kanemitsu has NO political clout. He is a poor businessman that has been lead down the road by a arrogant manager.

    No aloha for that behavior, let the fines stand.

  3. Kalikiano says:

    More sadness on the island (ref: added to the existing unhappiness of the Hotel Molokai fire and Molokai Surf closing)! Several strongly worded opinions here on Kanemitsu’s, fo’shoah, but the plain fact is that Kanemitsu’s has progressively gone downhill for years.

    I was mildly surprised, nearly 20 years ago, to find that the fabled ‘hot bread’ was nowhere near as ono as legend had me expecting it to be. Today even, everywhere you go on the mainland whenever the subject of Molokai comes up, first thing someone recalls is the (urban myth of) Kanemitsu’s fabled breads and ono baked goods. That popular image of one of Molokai’s memorable local highlight establishments persists inexplicably today in the face of the unhappy realities already referenced by the two other posters here.

    Very recently, after having been off island for a while, I came down first thing to buy my usual 6 to 12 loaves of bread and was again quite disappointed in the quality of what was arguably a much better product years ago. Although I am not kanaka maoli on the island (and not quite kama’aina), I am not exactly FOJ (fresh off jet) either, so the decidedly sullen attitude pitched at me by the counter person who took my order did not please me, either. The crew sitting back at the ‘regulars’ table also didn’t look very happy about my presence and there was even an audible snigger or two between two of the younger bakery personnel (doubtless prompted by a gratuitous nasty comment) who apparently felt I was just another tiresome visiting haole to despise. Brrrrrr. NOT much aloha spirit to be found there, that day, garans.

    Granted that nothing on Molokai is ever cut-and-dried simple and granted that Molokai has never had a happy consensus about anything, but it’s still very sad that this landmark establishment that has for so many years stood out as an icon for off-islanders is now in remarkable disrepair (both physically and spiritually).

    Molokai needs Kanemitsu’s just as much as it needs its other principal local ‘anchor’ businesses (for example, what would happen if Friendly Market suddenly ceased to exist?). George and Blossom need to recognise their responsibilities to all the people of the island (themselves included, as part of the extended ‘ohana) and do their best by it. It’s pretty obvious that many of the needed improvements and fixes will be quite expensive (what isn’t on the island?), but aside from Kanemitsu’s being unsanitary and unhealthy (to an extreme degree), their seeming indifference to the specified problems bespeaks a remarkable lack of basic, everyday aloha.

    As I said, very, very sad! I join with others here in hoping that the much-needed turn around comes soon! Malama pono!

  4. MolokaiCrabbe says:

    MORE SHIBAI FROM GEORGE KANEMITSU, I viewed His comment on KHONTV2 News, the said that “Molokai is different, you cant just find an electrician or plumber on the island”.

    BS: there are 4 licensed electrical contractors on Molokai, CY Electric, Gonsales Electric, Site COnstructors (myself) and another electrician on the West Side.

    There are also 3 licensed plumbers on Molokai also. ALl of us ready and willing to work. we all provide quality licensed work. did they call? no.

    all of us severely out of work.

    I gave Blossom my card in 1997 and people all the electricians on Molokai. She has never called.

    They wont, and they will continue to dish out the same food, and same “un-quality service, as KALIKIANO above has experienced above.

    nough kicking a dead horse. lets see them put up or shut up. Strong words, for a challenge to George and Blossom.

    time to step to the plate, Molokai does not need this.

  5. Kuki says:

    Da place is disgusting! Shame on George and Blossom, they are risking the health of their community and selfishly deny any responsibility. Since they don’t give a sh$t about the quality of their food or the bad attitudes of their workers, 12 years ago I boycotted em and got myself one bread-makeah and make my own!…..Ono, cheap, and not full of filth. If they don’t care enough about you den care about yourself and don’t eat there til it is CLEAN!

  6. watizit says:

    That place is disguisting and they walk around acting like they better than everyone else. BURN it & REBUILD..

  7. molokaisouljah says:

    Oh well very disappointed

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