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Pearl Harbor Restaurant Using Celebrity Chef Sam Choy’s Name Without Permission

A restaurant located on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam is not what many folks may think it actually is and certainly isn’t what the United States Navy may have thought what they were getting when they allowed the restaurant to open up on the military base.

Island Grille2

Image from the Island Grille website

Sam Choy’s Island Style Seafood Grille” located on the base at 3465 Malama Bay Drive, Honolulu, Hawaii IS NOT AFFILIATED with the Celebrity Chef Sam Choy that we have all come to know and love here in Hawaii.

I asked the owner to respond to an email about the ownership of the restaurant… however, after 4 days he has not responded to my email.

Image from Island Grille website

Image from Island Grille website

After speaking with those associated with the “Real” Sam Choy, I learned that the restaurant is not even serving the same recipes; Sam does not cook there, and hasn’t ever even been compensated for his namesake on the restaurant.

Sam Choy stated:

“The Hickam / Pearl Harbor Restaurant was opened using my name.  To this day I have never seen a penny of royalty or any payment of any sort going towards using my name.  I just want the community to be aware of this fact.”

According to an August 19th Facebook post the Island Style Grille is accepting applications using “Sam Choy’s name as a hiring point:

“Sam Choy’s Seafood Grille is hiring! Located conveniently on JBPHH right next to Hickam beach! Positions available for all back of house kitchen staff including Line Cooks as well as all front of house including Bartenders and Servers. Experience required for line cook, bartending and serving. Please inquire and/or apply in person or contact us with any questions!!!!!”

I have learned that Choy and his team have retained an attorney and are looking to get his name removed from the restaurant… so until then… just know that this restaurant is not affiliated with the “Real Sam Choy”.

Real Sam Choy

Click to see the REAL Sam Choy!

New Restaurants, Exhibitors Join Taste Hawaiian Range Sept. 9

Fresh and nutritious Hawai’i Island food and the people who produce it are the stars of Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range 6-8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 9 at the Hilton Waikoloa Village.

Taste HaydenTasty culinary stations, food producer booths and agricultural-themed displays—totaling over 75 stations— will sprawl both inside and out at the resort’s conference center.

Pre-sale tickets are available online for $45 through midnight September 8 and at island wide locations until sold out; they are $60 at the door. Details: www.TasteoftheHawaiianRange.com.

Each Taste chef is assigned to prepare a whopping 100 pounds of a specific cut of pasture-raised beef—or locally sourced pork, lamb, mutton, goat or USDA-inspected wild boar—and the result is a festive adventure of tasting everything from tongue to tail. Most of the beef cuts are utilized so chefs and attendees can get acquainted with not-so-familiar cuts while having fun. The pasture-raised beef is sourced from local, humanely raised cattle that are free of antibiotics and hormones.

Taste ShankIn addition to “grazing” on expertly prepared beef sirloin, lamb or Rocky Mountain Oysters—aka bull’s testicles—attendees can taste samples at local food product booths and view compelling educational displays on sustainability and agriculture.

New participating exhibitors include Beyond Organic Consulting, Waimea Butcher Shop, Paradise Hawaii Balsamics, Spicy Ninja Sauce, Rapid ‘Ohi‘a Death, Farm Works Hawaii, Orchid Isle Traders, Hawaii Lassi-Akmal Foods, USDA Farm Service Agency and UH-CTAHR Veterinary Extension.

Restaurants debuting at the 2016 Taste include Noodle Club, Waipio Cook House, 3 Fat Pigs, Daylight Mind Coffee Company Waikoloa, Monstera and The Fish Hopper.

Also new will be a streaming video shown at different event locations featuring seven Big Island ranchers and farmers talking story about why they produce food.

taste2015

Those wanting to learn first-hand how to use and prepare 100 percent pasture-raised beef can attend the event’s annual Cooking 101 culinary demonstration. This year’s team of guest presenters are chefs Kevin Hanney and J Schoonover of Oahu’s 12 Ave Grill and Kokohead Café. The 3 p.m. presentation includes sampling and is $10; tix available online or at the door. A 1 p.m. seminar, “Learn Where Beef Cuts Come From,” is free.

Islandwide tickets locations include Kuhio Grille in Hilo, Kamuela Liquors and Parker Ranch Store in Waimea, Kona Wine Market in Kailua-Kona and Kohala Essence Shop at Hilton Waikoloa Village.

Watch for ticket giveaways on Facebook at Taste of the Hawaiian Range and Twitter #TasteHI. For general event information, phone (808) 322-4892.

Hawai‘i residents eager to savor the flavors of the Taste can take advantage of Hilton Waikoloa Village’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range Package with rates starting at $239 + tax per room on Friday, Sept. 9, 2016. This Kama‘aina Special also includes two tickets to the Taste of the Hawaiian Range. Guests must show valid Hawai‘i state ID at checkin and must have Hawai‘i address in reservation. Pre- and post-event hotel room prices start at $149 plus tax per room, per night, based on availability. To book an overnight stay at Hilton Waikoloa Village under an exclusive Taste of the Hawaiian Range room package (code TSH), visit www.hiltonwaikoloavillage.com/kamaaina, or https://secure3.hilton.com/en_US/hi/reservation/book.htm?hotel=KOAHWHH&spec_plan=TSH&arrivaldate=20151009 or call 1-800-HILTONS.

 

McDonalds of Hawaii Offering Free Coffee on Tuesdays for Teachers During “Teacher Appreciation Month”

McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawaii honors teachers during “Teacher Appreciation Month” with a free medium cup of hot or iced McCafe Royal Kona Blend every Tuesdays during the month of September at all participating McDonald’s restaurants in Hawaii.
McCafe

DETAILS:

McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawaii wants to thank teachers for all they do for our keiki.                       

Details are as follows:

  • No purchase necessary
  • Teachers must present their valid 2016 school ID upon ordering
  • Limit one free cup of coffee per person, per visit
  • Offer dates: September 6, September 13, September 20 and September 27
  • Offer times:  Entire day

Jennifer Greenwell Earns Licensed Q Grader Certification

Greenwell Farms knows that keeping the quality of Kona’s world famous coffee is important to ensure its sustainability for seasons to come. Quality assurance at Greenwell Farms has been enhanced as Jennifer Greenwell recently earned a prestigious Coffee Quality Institute’s Q Grading certification.

Earlier this summer, Jennifer Greenwell spent an intense week pursuing the prestigious and respected certification as part of a seven-person group testing under the direction of Jodi Dowell Wieser. This was the first Q Grader and Training exam in Hawaii. Greenwell had to successfully pass over 20 intense test sections on coffee related subjects, such as green grading, roast identification, coffee cupping, sensory skills and sensory triangulation.

jennifer greenwell

Prior to the exams, Greenwell prepared and for 30 + days engaged in an Olympic-type coffee cupping training with Chai Neo, the other certified Q Grader at Greenwell Farms. Greenwell had to train her taste buds to respond to the sweet, sour, and salt areas of the tongue and together, Greenwell and Neo cupped and cupped coffee samples from around the world as Greenwell grew more and more confident in her skills. Armed with heavy training, Greenwell headed to Oahu, knowing the difficult and demanding testing she would be up against.

“I’m personally so grateful to Jackie and Ray Suiter of Kona Coffee Purveyors for making the Q Grader certification possible here in Hawaii. They are really the ones that made it happen by certifying their lab, rearranging roasting schedules and getting Jody out here to Hawaii to conduct the certification,” said Jennifer Greenwell.

With this prestigious certification, Jennifer Greenwell joins an elite group of coffee industry experts. Greenwell and Chai Neo are both qualified to cup and grade coffee based on the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s standards and methods. The Q Grading Certification program was created in 2004 to train coffee professionals to better identify the scientific tasting protocols, coffee grading, coffee knowledge and develop sharp sensory skills critical in identifying the common aromatic scents found in coffee.

With two Q Graders now on the farm, Greenwell Farms has doubled the quality-based guarantee that its coffee has been strictly evaluated by coffee experts to ensure quality. These two Greenwell Farms Q-Graders will continue to contribute greatly to the Greenwell Farms quality control efforts and the goal of producing the highest quality Kona coffee possible.

“As Hawaii continues to lead the US coffee growing industry, having cupping certification opportunities is important for the industry as a whole,” stated Tom Greenwell, proud husband and Greenwell Farm President. “With every Q Grader certification, expertise in industry knowledge grows and naturally branches out into the consumer market, making coffee drinkers ultimately more aware of the importance of high quality coffee in their cup.”

Genki Sushi Updates Customers On Status of Reopening of Restaurants

Genki Sushi today issued an update on the status of its efforts to reopen its restaurants on Oahu and Kauai. Since being notified by the Department of Health (DOH) of its decision to temporarily close 10 Genki Sushi restaurants on Oahu and one on Kauai on Aug. 15, the company has been working cooperatively with the department to take the required steps to comply with health standards and resume business.

Genki Sushi

“While our goal is to reopen our restaurants as soon as possible, Genki Sushi’s top priority is the health and safety of our customers, employees and the community,” said Mary Hansen, chief administrative officer, Genki Sushi USA. “Since the Department of Health announced the source of the illness was a food product that was received from a distributor, we have been working closely with state health officials to take the necessary actions to ensure all of our restaurants meet or exceed DOH guidelines and requirements.”

In addition to discarding produce, open packages of food, and single-serve equipment and utensils, as well as thoroughly cleaning and sanitizing the restaurants according to DOH standards, the company has been focused on ensuring all of its employees in the impacted restaurants are screened and vaccinated.

The testing and vaccination results of the 358 employees will be compiled and provided to the DOH for their review and certification. The company hopes to have all of the employee screenings and vaccinations completed as soon as possible subject to the logistics of screening such a large number of employees at once.

“We appreciate our customers’ understanding and support as we continue to focus on preparing our restaurants to reopen so that customers can have confidence in the safety and quality of the food we serve,” said Hansen.

22 New Cases of Hepatitis A Reported in Hawaii

hepatitis header

As of August 24, 2016*:

Since the last update, HDOH has identified 22 new cases of hepatitis A.  All cases have been in adults, 58 have required hospitalization.

Findings of the investigation suggest that the source of the outbreak is focused on Oahu. Eleven (11) individuals are residents of the islands of Hawaii, Kauai, or Maui, and three visitors have returned to the mainland.

CONFIRMED CASES OF HEPATITIS A
228

Onset of illness has ranged between 6/12/16 – 8/16/16.

Places of Interest

An employee of the following food service business(es) has been diagnosed with hepatitis A. This list does not indicate these businesses are sources of this outbreak; at this time, no infections have been linked to exposure to these businesses. The likelihood that patrons of these businesses will become infected is very low. However, persons who have consumed food or drink products from these businesses during the identified dates of service should contact their healthcare provider for advice and possible preventive care.

Business Island Location Dates of Service
Chili’s Oahu Kapolei (590 Farrington Highway) July 10, 12, 14, 15, 17, 18, 20, 21, 22, 23, 25, 26, and 27, 2016
Hawaiian Airlines Flight list (click here) July 1-26, 2016
Hokkaido Ramen Santouka Oahu Honolulu (801 Kaheka Street) July 21-23, 26-30, and August 2-6, 9-11, 2016
Sushi Shiono Hawaii Waikoloa Beach Resort, Queen’s MarketPlace (69-201 Waikoloa Beach Drive) July 5-8, 11-15, and 18-21, 2016
Taco Bell Oahu Waipio (94-790 Ukee Street) June 16, 17, 20, 21, 24, 25, 28, 29, 30, and July 1, 3, 4, 6, 7, and 11, 2016
Tamashiro Market Oahu Kalihi (802 N. King Street) July 2, 4, 6–8, 11–13, 15–19, and 23, 2016
Papa John’s Waipahu Oahu Waipahu (94-1021 Waipahu Street) July 23-24, and Aug. 2, 2016
New Lin Fong bakery Oahu Chinatown (1132 Maunakea Street) July 20, 22-23, 25, 27, 29-30, and Aug. 1, 3, and 5-6, 2016

Unable to view the table? Try another web browser (e.g. Mozilla Firefox or Internet Explorer).

Hepatitis A — Information and Resources

New Case of Hepatitis A Identified in Hawaiian Airlines Flight Attendant

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) is continuing its investigation of an ongoing hepatitis A outbreak on the island of Oahu, and today confirmed a new case in a Hawaiian Airlines flight attendant.

scallopsThe flight attendant served inflight food and beverages to passengers on the following flights:

  • July 31, 2016 – Flight HA22 from Honolulu, HI (HNL) to Seattle, WA (SEA)
  • August 1, 2016 – Flight HA21 from Seattle, WA (SEA) to Honolulu, HI (HNL) August 10, 2016
  • Flight HA18 from Honolulu, HI (HNL) to Las Vegas, NV (LAS)
  • August 12, 2016 – Flight HA17 from Las Vegas, NV (LAS) to Honolulu, HI (HNL)

The public is being alerted only as a precaution; the risk of transmission is extremely low and Hawaiian Airlines is not the source of the ongoing outbreak. DOH has identified imported frozen scallops as the likely source and embargoed the product statewide on August 15, 2016.

Subsequent laboratory testing by the Food and Drug Administration has confirmed the presence of hepatitis A in the scallops.

“This case is a reminder that hepatitis A symptoms can appear up to 50 days after exposure,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park.  “This is why we expect to continue to see cases in coming weeks, and why we need to remain vigilant to prevent further transmission, even though the product has been pulled off the market.”

As of August 17, 2016, DOH has confirmed a total of 206 cases of hepatitis A as part of this outbreak investigation.

Updated case counts and information are provided each Wednesday along with a complete list of food service establishments who have had employees diagnosed with hepatitis A infection at the following link: http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/hepatitis-a-outbreak-2016/.

Vaccination provides the best protection from hepatitis A, so any individuals who may have been exposed to the disease are recommended to contact their healthcare providers about receiving a vaccine or immune globulin (IG). This may provide some protection against the disease if administered within two weeks after exposure.

A statewide list of vaccinating pharmacies can be found at http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/files/2013/07/IMM_Adult_Resource_List.pdf , or call the Aloha United Way information and referral line at 2-1-1.

Hawaiian Airlines customers may go to www.hawaiianairlines.com/hepatitisA for detailed information on the affected flights and other support available.

FDA Warns Hawaii Seafood Processor About Handling of Tuna

A seafood-processing facility in Honolulu was found to have “serious violations” of the seafood Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) regulations during a May 17 and 20 inspection by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Click to read the warning letter

Click to read the warning letter

The resulting warning letter, dated July 27 and sent from the agency’s San Francisco District Office, informed Tropic Fish Hawaii LLC that its “fresh, refrigerated histamine-forming fish products, including Ahi tuna, mahi mahi, and skipjack tuna” are therefore adulterated, meaning that “they have been prepared, packed, or held under insanitary conditions whereby they may have been rendered injurious to health.”

FDA acknowledged the company’s June 13 response to the inspection results, but found that it did not adequately address all the problems observed by inspectors.

The warning letter states that Tropic Fish Hawaii LLC “must conduct a hazard analysis to determine whether there are food safety hazards that are reasonably likely to occur and have a HACCP plan that, at a minimum, lists the critical control points” to comply with federal law.

FDA noted that the company’s HACCP plan for fresh, refrigerated histamine-forming fish, including tuna, does not list the critical control point of refrigerated storage for controlling the food safety hazard of scombrotoxin (histamine) formation.

An agency investigator observed refrigerated product storage to be at 44 degrees F and the internal temperature of two Ahi tuna in the room to be at 42 degrees F. However, FDA’s letter stated that refrigerated, not frozen, storage or processing of raw product is to be held at a cooler temperature of 40 degrees F or below.

Or, if the fish are stored under ice, the product must be completely and continuously surrounded by ice throughout the storage time, according to the warning letter.

FDA also pointed out that the firm’s HACCP plan for fresh, refrigerated histamine-forming fish such as tuna does not list the food safety hazard of pathogenic bacteria growth for fish intended for raw consumption. The company responded that pathogenic bacteria growth was not considered a potential hazard because it uses potable water in the facility.

“Your response is not adequate and your hazards analysis is incorrect,” the warning letter states. “FDA has identified pathogenic bacteria growth and toxin formation as a food safety hazard in finfish, i.e. tuna, intended for raw consumption and control of this significant hazard must be included in your HACCP plan in the event of time and temperature abuse.”

FDA’s letter also mentioned that the firm was observed monitoring the surface temperature of fish at receiving with an infrared thermometer.

“Your response received on June 13 stated that you have now resumed taking the internal temperature of the fish with a probe thermometer. We will verify the adequacy of your corrective action during our next scheduled inspection,” the letter stated.

Other problems cited at the facility involved current good manufacturing practice requirements. These included not monitoring for the prevention of cross-contamination, insufficient cleaning of food contact surfaces, and inadequate control of employee health conditions.

Specifically, the letter states that an investigator observed unprocessed Ahi tuna intended for raw consumption being stored on a concrete floor and then dragged across the floor onto a pallet by an employee.

The company responded that the employee had received a written warning and was counseled, extra pallets were added for storage, and that plastic platform trucks were ordered to help move products.

FDA called that response “not completely adequate because you have not addressed the steps you have taken to ensure prevention of other employees from engaging in the same practice.”

Recipients of FDA warning letters have 15 working days from receipt to respond with details of the procedures they have taken, or will take, to correct the current violations and prevent them from recurring.

Attorney Filing Lawsuits on Behalf of Hawaii Residents Who Got Hepatitis A

Attorney Wayne Parson will be filing lawsuits on behalf of Hawai‘i residents who got hepatitis A as a result of contaminated scallops eaten at one of the Genki Sushi restaurants in the islands.

Genki Sushi

Lawsuits for people who have contracted hepatitis A in this outbreak will not be part of a “class action”. These will be individual lawsuits for each affected person because the injury suffered by each person is unique to that person. The lawsuits will be filed in state Circuit Court which is the main court for jury trials in Hawai‘i. Since there will be multiple lawsuits, it is not uncommon for the court to assign the cases to a single judge for the purposes of having consistency in rulings by the court on pretrial matters and an orderly setting of cases for trial.

For more detailed questions call his office at 808-845-2211 or his mobile phone at 808-753-0290. There will be no charge for this call. It is most important that people get answers to their health questions so the injuries can be prevented or the harm minimized.

He is currently involved in 30+ lawsuits filed on behalf of Hawai‘i residents who suffered liver damage as a result of another food product. His office has great experience in helping people with injury to their liver get back on their feet. In those other cases, as well as the upcoming cases to be filed in regard to the contaminated scallops, he will be working with Andrews & Thornton, a mainland law firm, which has a long history of success in representing persons who have suffered damage to their liver from food products. In these types of cases he works on a contingency fee which means that the lawyers do not get paid unless and until money is recovered for the injured person. All litigation costs are paid by his firm and Andrews & Thornton. The fact that two law firms are working on the cases together does not mean an increased fee.

The fee will be the same as charged for a single law firm and my firm and Andrews & Thornton divide up the standard fee. The client gets the benefit of two law firms for the price of one. The client also will have him as their local lawyer to be responsible for all aspects of the case. Anne Andrews has developed national prominence in legal circles for representing people who have suffered injuries like those suffered by the patrons of Genki Sushi who ate the contaminated scallops.

Some people have called him over the weekend with questions about what they should do if they ate the scallops at Genki Sushi but have not become ill.  The answer is that they should go to a doctor and get a blood test to see if they have hepatitis A. They should then follow the doctor’s directions going forward.  The incubation period for hepatitis A is 15 – 60 days and people should be alert to the following symptoms according to the CDC:

Some persons, particularly young children, are asymptomatic. When symptoms are present, they usually occur abruptly and can include the following:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Dark urine
  • Clay-colored bowel movements
  • Joint pain
  • Jaundice

If you ate at Genki Sushi and develop any of these symptoms go to your doctor  or an emergency room and get a blood test to find out  if you have hepatitis A.

Remember  that hepatitis A can be  spread  by human contact  and therefore  is important to find out if  a person has contracted hepatitis A. Since the incubation period can stretch up 60 days the fact that a person does not have symptoms is not completely reassuring. so they don’t spread it to family members and friends. It is equally  important to know that you could  contract hepatitis A even though you didn’t eat  the contaminated scallops but had contact  with someone  who has contracted  hepatitis A from the scallops. The Hawaii  Department of Health  has been outstanding  in  managing this outbreak and getting information to the public  that will allow people to protect themselves.  Following  daily announcements  at the Department of Health website  is the best way  to get the latest information on how to protect you and your family.

Wayne Parsons Law Offices, (808) 845-2211

www.wayneparsons.com

Scallops Linked to Hawaii Hepatitis A Outbreak Shipped to Nevada and California Too

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local officials are investigating an outbreak of hepatitis A illnesses linked to raw scallops.

Fast Facts

  • The FDA and CDC are supporting the Hawaii Department of Health (DOH) in an investigation of hepatitis A virus (HAV) infections linked to scallops supplied by Sea Port Products Corp. On August 17, 2016, Hawaii Department of Health reported that 206 people have been confirmed to have become ill with hepatitis A in that state.
  • On August 17, 2016, the FDA, Hawaii DOH, CDC and state partners informed Sea Port Products Corp that epidemiological, laboratory and traceback information indicates their scallops are the likely source of illnesses. On August 18, 2016, Sea Port Products Corp initiated a voluntary recall of frozen Bay Scallops produced on November 23, 2015 and 24, 2015. The products were distributed to California, Hawaii, and Nevada.  According to Sea Port Products Corp, the recalled products are not intended for retail sale. The FDA is working with the recalling firm to ensure their recall is effective and that recalled product is removed from the market.
  • Restaurants and other retailers should not sell or serve the recalled Bay Scallops. According to Sea Port Products Corp, the recalled products are not intended for retail sale. Consumers should ask the restaurant or retailer where their scallops came from to make sure they do not eat recalled Bay Scallops from Sea Port Products Corp.

What is the Problem and What is Being Done About It?

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are supporting the State of Hawaii in an investigation of hepatitis A illnesses linked to raw scallops.

According to the Hawaii Department of Health (DOH), 206 people have been confirmed to have become ill with hepatitis A. Illnesses started on dates ranging from June 12, 2016 to August 9, 2016. All cases have been in adults and 51 have required hospitalization.

The FDA’s traceback investigation involved working with Hawaii DOH to trace the path of food eaten by those made ill back to a common source. The traceback investigation determined that Sea Port Products Corp imported the scallops that were later supplied to certain Genki Sushi locations in Hawaii, where ill people reported eating.

On August 17, 2016, FDA laboratory analysis of two scallop samples, which were collected on August 11, 2016, were confirmed positive for hepatitis A. These samples were imported by Sea Port Products Corp.

The FDA, CDC and state partners immediately informed Sea Port Products Corp that epidemiological, laboratory and traceback information indicates their scallops are the likely source of illnesses. On August 18, 2016, Sea Port Products Corp initiated a voluntary recall of frozen Bay Scallops produced on November 23, 2015 and 24, 2015. The products were distributed to California, Hawaii, and Nevada. According to Sea Port Products Corp, the recalled products are not intended for retail sale. The FDA is working with the recalling firm to ensure their recall is effective and that recalled product is removed from the market.

What is Hepatitis A?

Hepatitis A is a contagious liver disease that results from infection with the Hepatitis A virus (HAV). It can range in severity from a mild illness lasting a few weeks to a severe illness lasting several months. Hepatitis A is usually spread when a person ingests fecal matter — even in microscopic amounts — from contact with objects, food, or drinks contaminated by the feces of an infected person (fecal-oral route).

What are the Symptoms of Hepatitis A?

Illness occurs within 15 to 50 days of exposure and in adults includes fatigue, abdominal pain, jaundice, abnormal liver tests, dark urine and pale stool.

Who is at Risk?

Hepatitis A is a disease that originates in and is spread by people, rather than animals. It can occur  when an infected food handler prepares food without appropriate hand hygiene. However, food (as is suspected in this outbreak) or water contaminated with HAV can cause outbreaks of disease.

In rare cases, particularly in patients with pre-existing severe illness or who are immunocompromised, HAV infection can progress to liver failure and death.  People who have underlying liver conditions or pre-existing severe illness, or who are immunocompromised, should be vaccinated for HAV.

What Specific Products were Recalled?

On August 18, 2016, Sea Port Products Corp initiated a voluntary recall of frozen Bay Scallops produced on November 23, 2015 and 24, 2015.

scallops

The products were distributed to California, Hawaii, and Nevada. According to Sea Port Products Corp, the recalled products are not intended for retail sale.

What Do Restaurants and Retailers Need To Do?

Retailers and other food service operators should not sell or serve the recalled products. These operations should also:

  • Wash and sanitize display cases and refrigerators where potentially contaminated products were stored.
  • Wash and sanitize cutting boards, surfaces, and utensils used to prepare, serve, or store potentially contaminated products.
  • Wash hands with hot water and soap following the cleaning and sanitation process.
  • Retailers, restaurants, and other food service operators who have processed and packaged any potentially contaminated products need to be concerned about cross contamination of cutting surfaces and utensils through contact with the potentially contaminated products.

What Do Consumers Need To Do?

Water, shellfish, and salads are the most frequent foodborne sources of hepatitis A. You can avoid Hepatitis A transmission from seafood by thoroughly cooking it. Hepatitis A can be transmitted from person to person. Consumers should always practice safe food handling and preparation measures.  Wash hands, utensils, and surfaces with hot, soapy water before and after handling food. Consumers should thoroughly wash their hands after using the bathroom and changing diapers to help protect themselves from hepatitis A, as well as other foodborne diseases.

Consumers should ask the restaurant or retailer where their scallops came from to make sure they do not eat recalled Bay Scallops from Sea Port Products Corp.

The FDA has provided information on selecting and serving fresh and frozen seafood safely.  Some people are at greater risk for foodborne illness and should not eat raw or partially cooked fish or shellfish. These susceptible groups include:

  • Pregnant women
  • Young children
  • Older adults
  • Persons whose immune systems are compromised
  • Persons who have decreased stomach acidity

If you are unsure of your risk, ask your healthcare provider.

Who Should be Contacted?

Contact your healthcare provider if you think you may have become ill from eating raw scallops.

The FDA encourages consumers with questions about food safety to call 1-888-SAFEFOOD Monday through Friday between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Eastern time, or to consult http://www.fda.gov.

Another Confirmed Case of Hepatitis A in an Oahu Food Service Worker

The Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH) today confirmed an additional case of hepatitis A in an Oahu food service worker. The infected case is an employee at Hokkaido Ramen Santouka restaurant, located at 801 Kaheka Street, Honolulu. The employee worked on July 21-23 and 26-30, and Aug. 2-6 and 9-11, 2016.

Hokkaido Ramen Santouka restaurant

“Even though we’ve identified and work to confirm the likely source of the overall outbreak, we may continue to see new cases with hepatitis A infection like this person because of how long ago people would have been exposed,“ said State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park.  “Our work to control further spread of disease is not yet over.”

DOH is providing this information to the public as a precaution in an attempt to prevent any new cases.  The likelihood that patrons of this business will become infected is very low. To date, DOH has confirmed a total of 206 cases of hepatitis A as part of this outbreak investigation. Updated case counts and information are provided each Wednesday along with a complete list of food service establishments who have had employees diagnosed with hepatitis A infection at the following link: http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/hepatitis-a-outbreak-2016/.

Vaccination provides the best protection from hepatitis A, so any person who consumed food or beverage products prepared or served at this business during the identified periods may want to contact their healthcare providers about receiving a vaccine or immune globulin (IG).  This may provide some protection against the disease if administered within two weeks after exposure. A statewide list of vaccinating pharmacies can be found at http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/files/2013/07/IMM_Adult_Resource_List.pdf, or call the Aloha United Way information and referral line at 2-1-1

Help prevent the spread of hepatitis A by washing your hands often and thoroughly.  For more information on proper handwashing: http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/dib/infectious-disease-surveillance/handwashing/.

7th Annual “Taste of Mauna Lani” Coming Soon

Mauna Lani Resort is happy to present the 7th Annual Taste of Mauna Lani, starting Monday, September 5, and continuing through Sunday, September 25, 2016.
Taste of Mauna LaniThe Shops at Mauna Lani, the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows and the Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i have partnered together to offer a variety of tantalizing and affordable menu selections showcasing the very best of Big Island Cuisine. Six of Mauna Lani Resort’s top restaurants will offer a special three-course prix fixe dinner, ranging in price from $35 to $65.

A portion of the proceeds from each Taste of Mauna Lani dinner sold will be donated to Hawai‘i Island Food Basket. In addition, diners will receive a VIP Shopping Discount Card with special savings from participating Shops merchants including 50% off tickets for Kozy’s Magic and Comedy Show and a free 4D Adventure Ride.

Participating restaurants include: Tommy Bahama Restaurant & Bar, Monstera Noodles & Sushi, The Blue Room Brasserie & Bar and Ruth’s Chris Steak House, all at The Shops at Mauna Lani. Additionally, CanoeHouse at the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows and Brown’s Beach House at The Fairmont Orchid, Hawai‘i are participating in Taste of Mauna Lani. Reservations are recommended.

Hepatitis A Outbreak in Hawaii Climbs to 206 Reported Cases

The Hawaii Department of Health (HDOH) is continuing to investigate a cluster of hepatitis A infections in the state.

As of August 17, 2016*:

Since the last update, HDOH has identified 38 new cases of hepatitis A.  All cases have been in adults, 51 have required hospitalization.

Findings of the investigation suggest that the source of the outbreak is focused on Oahu. Nine (9) individuals are residents of the islands of Hawaii, Kauai, or Maui, and one visitor has returned to the mainland.

CONFIRMED CASES OF HEPATITIS A
206

Onset of illness has ranged between 6/12/16 – 8/9/16.

On August 15, 2016, HDOH identified raw scallops served at Genki Sushi restaurants on Oahu and Kauai as the likely source of the ongoing outbreak. The product of concern is Sea Port Bay Scallops (Wild Harvest, Raw Frozen) that originated in the Philippines (states “Product of the Philippines” on the box), distributed by Koha Oriental Foods. As a result, HDOH ordered this product embargoed (not to be sold, purchased, or consumed) throughout the state, and the temporary closure of all Genki Sushi restaurants on Oahu and Kauai.

scallops

The scallops received by True World Foods have not been distributed to any restaurants in the state, and were embargoed at their warehouse. The scallops served at Genki locations on the Big Island and Maui originated from a different supplier and have not been associated with the outbreak.

The outbreak investigation is ongoing.   It continues to be challenging because of the long incubation period of the disease (15 to 50 days) and the difficulty patients have in accurately recalling the foods consumed and locations visited during the period when infection could have taken place.

Healthcare providers have been informed and are asked to notify HDOH immediately if they have a patient they suspect may be infected.

HDOH encourages Hawaii residents to consider getting vaccinated for hepatitis A, and advises that they talk to their healthcare provider about hepatitis A if they are interested. Vaccination for hepatitis A is strongly recommended for certain individuals who are especially at risk (see HERE for a CDC list of groups recommended to be vaccinated for hepatitis A).

Hawaii residents are also advised that the demand for the vaccine during the outbreak has led to varied supply levels around the state, so it is recommended that they call ahead to assure the vaccine is available at a particular clinic or pharmacy before going there.

The Hawaii Department of Health is conducting a case control study to determine what food items served at a local restaurant chain might have led to the increase in hepatitis A infections in Hawaii. We are looking for individuals who ate at Genki Sushi after April 23, 2016 and have not been ill with hepatitis A.

Your assistance is extremely important. We are using this survey to obtain contact information for individuals who would be willing to participate in the study.  Selected individuals will be contacted by phone in the next 1-2 weeks and interviewed about particular foods eaten at Genki Sushi restaurant(s). Participation is voluntary and, if selected, should take about 30 minutes.  Your personal information will be kept confidential and will not be shared outside of the investigative team.

Mahalo.

Click here to take the survey

Delta Airlines to Serve Free Alcohol on Flights Flying To or From Honolulu

Well this is a sure way to get customers back after the recent computer glitches left passengers stranded around the country:

Delta enhances its services onboard, offering complimentary meals and beer, wine and spirits for customers on all flights, in all cabins on its long-haul flights to and from Honolulu.

Mai Tai on flightThe service will initially launch on flights between Atlanta and Honolulu beginning Sept. 15, and will apply to seasonal flights to/from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport beginning Nov. 3 and John F. Kennedy International Airport to/from HNL beginning Dec. 17.

Delta inflightDelta Comfort+ and Main Cabin customers will be offered two complimentary meal services, one at the beginning of the flight and one prior to arrival, to align with the airline’s similar long-haul flights.

Snack boxMeal service enhancements include a meal service with a choice of two hot entrees, a sandwich with a brownie and a continental breakfast snack box, depending on the route, as well as complimentary beer, wine and spirits, including the airline’s signature Mai Tais.

Hawaii Department of Health Orders Embargo of Frozen Imported Scallops and Closure of Genki Sushi Restaurants on Oahu and Kauai

Based on evidence gathered and analyzed during an extensive investigation spanning almost two months, the Hawaii State Department of Health has determined a strong association between a majority of the cases in the Hepatitis A outbreak first announced by the department on July 1, 2016. Investigation findings implicate frozen imported scallops served raw at Genki Sushi Restaurants as the likely source of Hepatitis A infection.

Genki Sushi“After determining the strong probable link between the majority of cases, the department immediately notified Genki Sushi Restaurants, ordered the embargo of the frozen scallop product, and the closure of all Oahu and Kauai facilities,” said Health Director Dr. Virginia Pressler. “The business has complied with all orders, contacted all of their Hawaii restaurants, and is working with the department to ensure the safety of its customers. Our staff is in the field today working with distributors to embargo the product.”

Department of Health has ordered the embargo of all frozen scallop products distributed by Koha Oriental Foods and True World Foods in Hawaii. An embargo of products restricts their use, sale or distribution. Because Genki Sushi Restaurants on Oahu and Kauai had received, handled and served the product, the establishments were ordered to close immediately. Koha Oriental Foods had supplied the product to Genki Sushi Restaurants on Oahu and Kauai. The frozen imported scallop product recently began to be distributed also by True World to Genki Sushi restaurants on Maui and Hawaii Island. Although there have been no cases related to these recent shipments, given the uncertainty of the safety of the product, all scallop products sent to these restaurants were embargoed as the department continues its investigation.

“Genki Sushi in Hawaii has a history of good compliance with food safety regulations which includes good employee hygiene,” said Peter Oshiro, Sanitation Branch Chief. “We will continue to work with Genki Sushi Restaurants to ensure their safe operation after the investigation is completed.”

Product tracing is being conducted to locate all potentially contaminated products. DOH has also been in contact with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Hawaii office to investigate the product origin. Food products imported from outside the state are regulated by the U.S. FDA.

“We are gratified to uncover this major piece of the investigation,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park, “my staff have been persistent and tireless in their search for clues to prevent new cases and put an end to the outbreak. Our investigation continues, as we work to confirm our findings and ensure contaminated product is no longer in circulation and the risk of transmission is eliminated.”

Genki Sushi Restaurants on Oahu and Kauai will remain closed until the Department of Health can ensure their safe operation.  All frozen scallop products from distributors Koha Oriental Foods and True World Foods are being restricted and will be destroyed to prevent any further illness.

Anyone who consumed products, specifically scallops, prepared or served at Genki Sushi on Oahu or Kauai should consider contacting their healthcare provider about the possibility of receiving a vaccine or immune globulin (IG). A statewide list of vaccination locations is available at www.health.hawaii.gov. Individuals who ate at these restaurants longer than two weeks ago, should monitor their health for 50 days after their exposure and consult their doctor if they develop symptoms of hepatitis. All persons should practice thorough hand washing.

All Oahu and Kauai Genki Sushi Restaurants Ordered to Close Immediately

The Hawaii State Department of Health has mandated that all Oahu and Kauai Genki Sushi Restaurants close immediately.

Genki Sushi

The Department of Health determined the hepatitis A outbreak on Oahu is likely due to imported frozen scallops served raw at these restaurants.

The restaurants are now closed to prevent any further illness and protect the public.  No word on when they may reopen.

More Restaurants Tied to Hepatitis Outbreak – 168 Cases – New Survey for Residents

The number of people affected by the hepatitis A outbreak in Hawaii continues to rise, including two additional cases confirmed in Oahu food service workers today by the Hawaii State Department of Health (DOH). As a public health precaution, food handlers identified as contacts of a case must be tested for hepatitis A and found negative for the virus before returning to work.

One infected food service worker is an employee at Papa John’s restaurant, located at 94-1021 Waipahu Street, in Waipahu. The employee worked on July 23 and 24, and Aug. 2, 2016.

The other infected food service worker is an employee at New Lin Fong bakery, located at 1132 Maunakea Street, in Chinatown. The employee worked on July 20, 22-23, 25, 27, 29-30, and August 1, 3, and 5-6, 2016.

Establishment Island Location Dates of Service
Papa John’s Oahu Waipahu                        (94-1021 Waipahu St.)

 

July 23 and 24, and Aug. 2, 2016

 

New Lin Fong Oahu Chinatown                        (1132 Maunakea St.)

 

July 20, 22-23, 25, 27, 29-30, and Aug. 1, 3, and 5-6, 2016

Since DOH began its investigation, a total of 168 cases of hepatitis A have been confirmed as part of the outbreak, as of Aug. 10, 2016. DOH investigators have been hard at work to identify the outbreak source, which was likely a product widely distributed primarily on Oahu.

Click to take survey

Click to take survey

As a part of the ongoing hepatitis A outbreak in our state, we are performing a survey of Hawaii residents to determine how frequently residents eat at restaurants and obtain food from grocery stores in our communities. This survey should take less than 5 minutes. Please limit survey responses to one survey per household/family. Mahalo for your help!

Click here to take the survey

 

As of August 10, 2016*:Since the last update, HDOH has identified 33 new cases of hepatitis A.  All cases have been in adults, 46 have required hospitalization.

Findings of the investigation suggest that the source of the outbreak is focused on Oahu. Eight (8) individuals now live on the islands of Hawaii, Kauai, and Maui, and one visitor has returned to the mainland.

CONFIRMED CASES OF HEPATITIS A
168

Onset of illness has ranged between 6/12/16 – 8/1/16.

This information is provided to the public as a precaution in an attempt to prevent any new cases, and the likelihood that patrons of this business will become infected is very low. Updated case counts and information are provided each Wednesday along with a complete list of food service establishments who have had employees diagnosed with hepatitis A infection at the following link: http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/hepatitis-a-outbreak-2016/.

“The public’s health is our primary concern, and we feel it is important to provide them with the most up-to-date information so they can work with their healthcare providers to protect themselves and their families,” said State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park. “At the same time, we also want the public to understand that these businesses and the other previously affected food establishments are not the source of the outbreak.”

Vaccination provides the best protection from hepatitis A, so any person who consumed food or beverage products prepared or served at this business during the identified periods may want to contact their healthcare providers about the possibility of receiving a vaccine or immune globulin (IG), which may provide some protection against the disease if administered within two weeks after exposure. A statewide list of vaccinating pharmacies can be found at http://health.hawaii.gov/docd/files/2013/07/IMM_Adult_Resource_List.pdf, or call the Aloha United Way information and referral line at 2-1-1

Frequent and thorough handwashing with soap after using the bathroom or changing a diaper, and before preparing food can also help prevent the spread of hepatitis A. Additionally, appropriately cooking foods can also help prevent infection.

New Luxury Cinemas Coming to Queens’ MarketPlace

Queens’ MarketPlace will light up island nightlife with the highly-anticipated Waikoloa Luxury Cinemas, an upscale, three-screen movie venue with a full-service restaurant and bar. When the curtain goes up in the spring of 2017, movie lovers will be able to kick back in a cushy leather seat and order a glass of wine to enjoy with a first-run feature.
Waikoloa Luxury Cinemas
Guests will enter a spacious, contemporary lobby, with a bar and high-end furnishings, including an actual sample of the theaters’ leather loveseats to “test drive.” A 25-foot passageway of glass doors will lead into a 5,000 square-foot outdoor lanai lounge, available to everyone, movie patron or not.

Three exclusive auditoriums, outfitted with cutting-edge sound and projection equipment, will seat 85-100 people each, the largest offering Real 3-D technology. Food and beverages—from popcorn and sodas to gourmet snacks, pizza and cocktails—may be purchased prior to the show, or ordered for delivery to the loveseat.

“The ‘luxury cinema’ concept has proven to be quite a hit on the mainland,” said Waikoloa Luxury Cinemas owner Tony Dalzell, “so we decided that would be our business model here.” With an MBA and extensive experience in consumer marketing, Dalzell was also owner-operator of Marina WaterSports, Inc., California’s largest watercraft and parasailing attraction. Assisting Waikoloa Luxury Cinemas is theater consultant Scott Stalcup who has overseen 100 plus projects for AMC Theaters.

Since most of North Hawai‘i gets its movie fix in Kona or Honoka‘a or from Netflix on the sofa, Waikoloa Luxury Cinemas is date night waiting to happen. The Dalzells easily saw the potential success of adding a theater to Waikoloa Beach Resort nightlife.

“It’s no secret that, after dark, one’s entertainment options around here are pretty limited,” said Dalzell, who moved to the island earlier this year with wife Maria after visiting annually for two decades. “Retirement was an option but we both wanted something to do. We’re happy that it ended up being something that’s a contribution to our new community.”

In addition to films, Waikoloa Luxury Cinemas will be available for rentals, concerts and live performances. It will offer a potential boon for neighboring businesses, and will be providing about 45 new jobs in the community. For more information please visit their website at hawaiicinemas.com, or email inquiry@hawaiicinemas.com.

Since it opened in 2007, Queens’ MarketPlace in Waikoloa Beach Resort has earned a reputation among visitors and kama‘āina as “the gathering place of the Kohala Coast,” full of shopping opportunities, services and great food, along with entertainment and arts programs, movies under the stars and large-scale concerts in Waikoloa Bowl at Queens’ Gardens. For more information, visit www.QueensMarketPlace.net or call (808) 886-8822.

Restaurants at Taste of the Hawaiian Range – Rocky Mountain Oysters Served By…

The 21st Mealani’s Taste of the Hawaiian Range is Friday, Sept. 9 at Hilton Waikoloa Village. Attendees will enjoy delectable dishes using pasture-raised beef, pork, lamb, goat, mutton and wild boar—plus a cornucopia of fresh island fruit, veggies, honey, spices and beverages.
Taste 2016
Each year the restaurants change what cut of meat they will be preparing and every year the question comes up of which restaurant will be serving the Rocky Mountain Oysters (Cow Balls).

Rocky Mountain Oysters

This year the winning (or depending on how you take it… the losing) restaurant that gets to cook up the Oysters is: Mai Grille

Restaurant Meat Cut
12th Ave Grill Beef Tongue
Blue Dragon Kalua Pork
Cafe Pesto – Kawaihae Beef Cheek Meat
Daylight Mind – Waikoloa Beef Clod / Cross Rib
Earl’s Waimea Beef Heart
Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel Beef Tri Tip
Hawaii Community College – East Hawaii* Beef Tripe
Hawaii Community College – West Hawaii* Island Lamb
Highway Inn Beef Flap Meat
Hilton Waikoloa Village Beef Top Round
Honolulu Burger Co. Beef Bottom Round
Hyatt Regency Waikiki Beach Beef Chuckroll
Ippy’s Hawaiian BBQ Feral Pork
Kohala Burger & Taco Island Lamb
Kuhio Grille Beef Bottom Round
Mai Grille Beef Mt. Oysters
Mauna Kea Beach Hotel Island Goat
Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows Beef Skirt Meat
Merriman’s Waimea Commercial Pork
Monstera Noodles & Sushi Bar Beef Chuckroll
Roy’s Waikoloa Bar & Grill Beef Top Round
Sam Choy’s Kai Lanai Beef Eye Of Round
Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar Beef Oxtail
Sheraton Kona Resort & Spa at Keauhou Bay Feral Pork
The Feeding Leaf Beef Flank
The Fish Hopper Ground Beef
Tiki’s Grill & Bar Beef Boneless Shortrib
Tommy Bahama Mauna Lani Restaurant & Bar Beef Top Sirloin
Tropics Ale House Beef Sirloin Tip
Noodle Club Waimea Beef Shank
Waikoloa Beach Marriott Resort & Spa Mutton
Waipio Cook House Beef Boneless Brisket
* Student stations: Hawai’i Community College (HawCC) in both Kona and Hilo

Hawaii Department of Health Exceeds Federal Targets for Drinking Water State Revolving Funds

The Hawaii State Department of Health Drinking Water State Revolving Fund Program has exceeded funding requirements by disbursing more than $30,180,000 of loan funds in state fiscal year 2016 to support infrastructure improvements in public water systems for all four counties. This successfully meets and exceeds the target of $30 million in total disbursements approved last year by federal officials.

Clean Water Act Logo

In addition, the Department of Health executed loan agreements to provide funding totaling more than $55.5 million, exceeding the $51.8 million target.

“The Drinking Water State Revolving Fund is an important resource for Hawaii where infrastructure improvements are routinely required to support our communities,” said Keith Kawaoka, deputy director of Environmental Health. “I commend our staff and the counties for making the best possible use of this federally funded source and for strengthening confidence overall in sustaining the program.”

Joanna Seto, Safe Drinking Water Branch chief said, “Mahalo to our State Revolving Fund team and County partners who stepped up to the plate and hit a grand slam home run by initiating major improvements to water systems in every county. Everyone at the Department of Health and the County water departments pulled together to effectively use these funds to improve every county’s infrastructure and meet the 2016 targets for our state.”

Each year, Congress appropriates funds that are administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to provide grants to states to capitalize low-interest loan programs for public water system infrastructure improvements. By meeting these targets, the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund is positioned to receive the entire EPA capitalization grant award of $8,312,000 for state fiscal year 2017.

“The Hawaii Department of Health has made significant progress in funding needed drinking water infrastructure, in response to our 2015 corrective action plan,” said Alexis Strauss, EPA’s Acting Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “We will continue to ensure that critical drinking water projects are funded promptly to support safe drinking water for all in Hawaii.”

The Drinking Water State Revolving Fund supported the following projects in FY 2016:

  • The Hawaii Department of Water Supply received $32.29 million in commitments and disbursed more than $14.21 million. The commitments will support the following six projects: Laupahoehoe 0.5 MG Reservoir, Olaa #6 Production Well and 1.0 MG Reservoir, Halaula Well Development Phase 1, Waimea Water Treatment Plant Microfiltration, Kapulena Well Development Phase 2, and the Ahualoa-Honokaa Transmission Waterline.
  • The Honolulu Board of Water Supply (HBWS) committed $11.65 million and disbursed $9.49 million. The commitment will support the HBWS Water System Improvements 2 loan which includes the Liliha Water System Improvements Phase V, Pensacola Street Water System Improvements, and Kapahulu Water System Improvements Phase I projects.
  • The Maui Department of Water Supply received $11.64 million in commitments and disbursed more than $4.29 million. The commitments will provide support for the following five projects: Wailuku Heights Tank 30 Booster Replacement, Phase 6 Booster Pump Upgrades, Kualapuu MCC Upgrades, Omapio 2.1 MG Tank Replacement, and Source Generator Installation at 4 Sites.
  • Kauai Department of Water disbursed $2.18 million.

Using the Financial Operations and Cash Flow Utilization in the State Revolving Fund (FOCUS) financial planning model, the state has set its fiscal year 2017 targets at $38.8 million for executed loans and $44.3 million for disbursements by June 2017.

Since it began in 1997, the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund has disbursed a total of more than $222.7 million in low interest loans for infrastructure improvements throughout the state.

Background

There are two funds for water system infrastructure improvement projects: the Clean Water State Revolving Fund infrastructure loan program, established by the Clean Water Act of 1987, and the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund infrastructure loan program, established by the Safe Drinking Water Act Amendments of 1996.

The Clean Water State Revolving Fund, which is also referred to as Hawaii’s Water Pollution Control Revolving Fund, provides low-interest loans to Hawaii’s four counties to construct high-priority wastewater, storm water, and non-point source water pollution projects. Since it began in 1991, the Clean Water State Revolving Fund has disbursed more than $686.9 million in low-interest loans, providing significant savings in interest costs to the counties.