See if Your Favorite Restaurant Passed the O‘ahu Food-Safety Inspection
A new website reveals the food-safety track record of O‘ahu restaurants.
Photo: Courtesy of Department of Health
We spend a lot of time and energy tracking the best restaurants in Honolulu. But in the end, eating out is an act of faith. In exchange for a delicious meal, we pay strangers to cook for us, trusting that they’re using fresh, uncontaminated ingredients and keeping their kitchen clean. You can look for the green placard in the front window, but who knows how consistently a spot has earned that designation?
Now you can be a little more sure about your favorite restaurant, thanks to a new website unveiled this week by the Hawai‘i state Department of Health. It’s uploaded 7,000 of its O‘ahu food-safety inspection report to hi.healthinspections.us/hawaii and made it searchable by restaurant name and date of last inspection. Expect the rest of the O‘ahu data by the end of May and Neighbor Island reports by the end of the year, with future reports going up in real time.
Want to find out how many complaints a place has gotten, or how long it’s been since it’s been inspected? It’s all right here. After searching the site for just a few minutes, we encountered reports of unhygienic food practices, vermin-infested kitchens and outbreaks of food poisoning. We also found that the majority of restaurants are perfectly fine, hygienewise, so there’s no need to start eating all your meals at home. Peter Oshiro, who manages the DOH’s food safety inspection program, says that about 25 percent of the locations they inspect receive a yellow warning card and hopes to see that rate decline with the added pressure of this website.
Keep in mind the database will never be 100-percent foolproof in determining whether your next plate of chicken katsu will be safe. The DOH inspectors can’t be everywhere all the time, of course. But it’s a huge improvement, and we’re excited to have such easy access to important data that used to be locked deep in government cabinets instead of accessible from any computer. Thanks, DOH!