Kanemitsu Bakery fails health inspection, again

Kanemitsu Bakery, an institution on Molokai, has once again failed an inspection based on health code violations. Owner George Kanemitsu has expressed his uncertainty about the bakery’s future.

Kanemitsu Bakery will remain closed after a Wednesday inspection by the State Department of Health found it had not fixed the health code violations found in June.

The order to close the bakery at 79 Ala Malama St. in Kaunakakai came on June 25. Kanemitsu Bakery has been in business on Molokai since 1926. The restaurant in the bakery remains open since it operates out of a separate, permitted kitchen.

The Maui News reported that the business has lost $100,000 since it was shut down in June, according to owner George Kanemitsu. He has also been forced to lay off nine employees.

“Right now, I’m very upset. You get the feeling like you do the best you can and fix the violations, and it’s not good enough,” Kanemitsu told The Maui News. “I definitely feel that the Department of Health wants to close me down — no ifs, ands, or buts about it.”

Kanemitsu claims that the DOH is going out of its way to find new and minor violations with each inspection. As a result, Kanemitsu said he may be forced to shut down the family business.

Both State Rep. Mele Carroll and Maui County Council Chair Danny Mateo attended the inspection. Neither have issued a public comment on the situation.

An inspection on March 7 and 8
uncovered, “serious deficiencies in the maintenance and manufacturing practices at the facility,” including improper cleaning and sanitizing of cooking implements and surfaces, inadequate rodent control, lack of hot water and general unsanitary conditions, the DOH said.

The business was allowed to continue its operations until a customer reported an ant found in a loaf of bread on June 15. This led to the June 20 inspection, which closed the bakery for a second time on June 25.

The violations found in March led to a $90,000 fine levied against the business. Kanemitsu has appealed this fine, which will be reviewed at a November hearing.

The Maui News sought out the health inspection report
and printed a list of the violations that are still apparent as well as the repairs that have been made to date.

Kanemitsu said he wants the DOH to “spell out” the violations in writing before he will make any decisions about the future of the bakery. He said he is also considering reopening the bakery in Oahu.


5 Responses

  1. He can go to Honolulu a make his bread, BUT the competition will be GREAT. The whole reason Molokai Bread is popular is because it is a product of Molokai. The bread itself has gotten smaller and cost more. His arrogance on TV also does not help the situation and using his so called Democratic connection is turn off to the common man!

    • i wasn’t going to chime in on this one but your mention of democrat connection has prompted me to- isn’t it highly irregular for elected officials to accompany a state agency on an inspection?

      what if the rodents were registered republicans?

  2. $90,000 fine? E-gads that is a lot of money. What the heck is going on?
    No business can control 100%, all the major bread companies have had similar things happen even with thier huge budgets for controls. It seems that a solution based support plan from the DOH would be the wisest thing. Angry words rarely solve anything. Is the space rented or owned? How about a pot luck where everyone helps get things the way the officials want. It could be a celebration of support and solidarity.

  3. […] An inspection in September showed that the business had remedied some of its problems but still had uneven floors and openings in the walls and ceilings that still needed to be fixed. Owner George Kanemitsu claimed that the DOH was trying to shut him down and did not properly identify the problems for him. […]

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