Welcome To My Table

Dr. RC Anderson

Welcome to The Chef’s Table Blog. I am Dr. Anderson, a chef and food safety instructor in Honolulu, Hawaii.

I will be utilizing this blog to talk about great food finds, reviewing places that I’ve been, pass on important information, share some of my favorite recipes, keep you up-to-date on food safety, answer your questions, and discuss other important topics concerning the restaurant and foodservice industry.

After some feedback from my readers, I decided to post this entry as a “sticky” posting so that it always appears right out in front to let everyone know what my blog is all about.

My latest entries are listed below in chronological order. You can also use the handy category tabs that are at the top of the page to find entries on the categories that interest you, or search from the search box inside my logo at the top of the page.

I hope that you enjoy your stay and that you come back often. If there is ever anything that I can do for you please let me know. You can click on the button at the top right to send me a quick chat message if I am online. If I am not online I will get your message in my email and answer you back right away. You can also send an email to me at  RC.Anderson@HawaiiFoodserviceAcademy.com

New Health & Safety Blog

Since we set up a separate division of the academy for our health & safety training programs, I decided to also set up a separate blog too.

The new website for our health & safety training is at oahucprtraining.com and the new blog can be found at  blog.oahucprtraining.com

Here is a short video that I created for the health & safety website, while trying to figure out how to do video editing for the first time. It’s not as easy to create as it looks. I still have to play around with the system a little more to figure it all out, then I can start producing the food safety training videos that I have been wanting to do for a while now.

Error
This video doesn’t exist

I suppose its not too bad for a first try, hopefully the next one will be better.

 

Its Been A Busy Couple of Weeks.

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Sorry for the delay in posting, but I have been EXTREMELY busy over the past couple of weeks, and have a few updates for you.

I decided not to certify as a Heartsaver Instructor with the American Heart Association, I decided to upgrade that to a BLS (Basic Life Support) Instructor, which I have now completed and have already taught our first BLS for Healthcare Providers class. This way I can teach the Heartsaver courses to the general public as well as the BLS course for those in the medical community.

We also decided to set up a separate division of the Hawaii Foodservice Academy, and have since formed Oahu CPR Training to handle all of our health & safety training courses. We are now offering everything from basic first aid and CPR to BLS for Healthcare Providers, Emergency Medical Response (First Responder), Airway Management and Emergency Oxygen Administration.

I am now also an instructor for Emergency Care & Safety Institute, EMS Safety Services, ProTrainings, American Safety & Health Institute, National Safety Council, and I am waiting to receive my instructor accreditation from the American Academy of Pediatrics to teach their Pediatric First Aid & CPR course for caregivers and teachers.

I may not have mentioned that I was formerly a Paramedic back on the mainland before 9-11. I have decided to pursue that certification once again as well so that I can also start teaching additional courses above the BLS level. Since I have let that certification lapse, I also have to start all over at the beginning again. I just started the Emergency Medical Technician program yesterday, and will fly to the academy in Idaho for the final week of the course and my final exams and National Registry exams in February.

Since I have all of this going on, and I will have to complete at least a chapter a day in the textbook along with all the other requirements of the course, I will be busier than a one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest between now and February 23rd when I get back from Idaho, so I will not be able to post as often until then. I will try to drop in with an update from time to time, possibly just to rant at how hard the course has gotten over the years since I first took it over 20 years ago, lol.

Until next time.

First Aid / CPR / AED Instructor Courses Update

English: CPR training with Welch Allyn AED 20

CPR training with Welch Allyn AED 20 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I am scheduled to take the American Red Cross First Aid/CPR/AED Instructor Course on November 25th.

I also called about becoming an AHA instructor, unfortunately the American Heart Association no longer accepts provider certification cards from American Red Cross, so I have to start all over at the beginning and take the First Aid/CPR/AED course again with them. I got that scheduled for this Friday the 16th, then we scheduled their instructor course for the following Tuesday the 20th.

So, if everything goes as planned, I will have my instructor cards for both American Red Cross and American Heart Association on the 25th.

The funny thing is, the courses from American Red Cross are the most expensive by far. Their

provider card course was $110 and the instructor course is $640. With the American Heart Association, both the provider card course and the instructor course combined was only $440 total.

Apparently with American Heart Association, in order for me to be able to offer the individual courses (first aid, CPR, AED) and not just a complete package of all three courses, I have to break my provider cards up into individual cards. Doesn’t make any sense to me, but ok, if that’s what they want, that’s the way I will do it. This way I can offer just the First Aid / CPR course, dropping the AED portion if a client prefers it that way.

Once I have those cards I will use them to automatically become an instructor with the National Safety Counsel under their “grandfathering” provision, instead of having to pay to take their courses.

So, hopefully beginning next month we will be able to start offering the American Red Cross, American Heart Association, and National Safety Counsel First Aid / CPR / AED courses.

First Aid / CPR / AED Training

English: CPR training

CPR training (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We have decided to start offering First Aid, CPR, and AED courses to our clients, but we can not decide which courses to offer between American Red Cross and American Heart Association.

I have been an instructor for both organizations and taught both courses previously and each has their pros and cons. The “civilian world” seems to prefer American Red Cross, whereas because of my previous profession as a Paramedic with a volunteer rescue squads in Arkansas and North Carolina I know the medical community prefers American Heart Association.

Since I will be focusing on the foodservice industry and not the medical community this time, I am leaning towards ARC, yet their course prices are currently higher than AHA’s so that has me wondering if I should go with the American Heart Association instead.

Because the foodservice industry is considered a “high risk” industry, (lacerations and possible amputations) OSHA regulations require every foodservice operation that is not within 4 minutes of a clinic or hospital to have trained staff and first aid supplies on hand. Here on Oahu the average response time for an ambulance is 8 minutes, twice the OSHA requirement. Unfortunately many in the restaurant and foodservice industries do not realize this requirement until they are fined for not being in compliance with it. That is why we are wanting to start adding these courses onto our training program offerings.

There are also courses from the International CPR Institute and the National Safety Council, just to make things more confusing.

So, to settle this matter, Im asking for your feedback. Which course(s) do you think we should start teaching for the foodservice industry?

Food Safety – Clearly Not A Priority in Hawaii – Updated

Back in 2010 the Produce Safety Project report showed that Hawaii was leading the nation in foodborne illness related costs, at an average of 710 million dollars each year, have we really seen any change since then?

Sugar and pineapple production pulled out of Hawaii a few years ago and now the state relies almost exclusively on tourism for its economy. Each year it is estimated that about 7 Million tourist visit the state of Hawaii each year spending over 10 billion dollars while they are here.

So, since tourism is clearly so important to the state’s economic health, what has been done to make their stay safer with regards to the food they eat while they are here?

ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!

Not a single piece of new food safety legislation has been passed, or a single new food safety regulation imposed on the over 9,800 food establishments in the state (over 6,000 on Oahu alone). Food safety and the economic impact of foodborne illness is clearly not a priority for the Hawaii Department of Health or for our elected officials.

Routine food safety and sanitation inspections of food establishments are not being performed by the Department of Health as they are required to do. Every single food establishment in the state is required to be inspected at least twice each year, and more often if violations are found, yet I know of several that have not been inspected one time in over a year.

My own food truck has not been inspected by the Department of Health a single time since we received our permit to operate back in November of 2010. Thats two full years without a single inspection from the Department of Health. And what makes it better, a few weeks ago I received a permit renewal notice in the mail from them. All we have to do is fill it out, and send them our renewal fee and they will mail us our permit for another two years, again with no inspection. Clearly they are more concerned with receiving permit fees than conducting sanitation inspections.

Back in November of last year I received a copy of the Chapter 50 draft, the proposed new Food Safety Code, and in the past year nothing has happened with it. It has stayed in its same “draft” state, stalled for over a year. The Department of Health does not need legislature approval to go forward with the proposed changes in Chapter 50. However the proposed changes must first undergo a public commenting period before being taken to Governor Abercrombie for approval. We have been waiting a year for the public commenting period to even be scheduled. As of today, there is still not a word about the proposed changes in Chapter 50 scheduled for public comment.

I have owned food establishments across the country, and this is the first state that I have ever lived in or operated a food establishment in that food safety is not considered a high priority. It is ridiculous how flippantly food safety is regarded here. I have approached several of our elected officials in the past regarding new food safety legislation, and they all seem very concerned, while you are there with them. Once you leave their office, nothing happens.

Admittedly, the Department of Health is seriously understaffed, over the past few years they have gone from 22 food safety inspectors down to a mere 9 inspectors for the entire state. Federal guidelines recommend one inspector for every 150 food establishments, yet currently Hawaii has only 9 food safety inspectors, which comes out to over 1,000 food establishments per inspector. Having only 9 food safety inspectors expected to inspect over 9,000 food establishments twice each year is a joke, and by the way, those same 9 inspectors are also tasked with inspecting every swimming pool, massage parlor, and tattoo parlor in the state.

In 2011 the Hawaii Department of Health conducted a total of 9,284 inspections, during which they uncovered 3,938 major health code violations at food establishments. During that same time there were over 1,700 reported cases if foodborne illness in Hawaii, with many more cases likely going unreported.

This staffing debacle falls squarely on the state’s elected officials. The people that we have elected to represent us. The Department of Health can’t hire more staff until the state gives them more funding to hire the staff with, yet the state says they can’t give them more funding.

King & University

The State of Hawaii can’t afford to hire additional food safety inspectors to keep the public and our tourist safe, yet the City & County of Honolulu can afford to spend billions of dollars on an elevated train that no one will ever ride and that will be a blight on our scenic island.

It has already been shown that the elevated rail system will not alleviate our traffic congestion problems.

Ridership of the train will not be enough to even make it cost effective and sustainable. Lets face it, how are they believing that thousands of us will suddenly decide to give up our cars and ride a train that doesn’t go where we need to go in the first place? What happens when we get there? We have to take a bus, cab, or walk to where we are going. Thats not going to happen.

Honolulu tried the same thing already with The Boat which did not last very long at all and was closed down because ridership did not improve to their projections. While The Boat was in service most people did not notice any noticeable difference to the traffic congestion. There simply was not enough people on The Boat to make a difference, and the train will be the same way.

Downtown Station

Why doesn’t the City & County of Honolulu do what other areas have done, start a county-wide department with food safety inspectors to inspect all food establishments operating within the county?

That will ease the burden from the state and make sure that the majority of the food establishments are inspected like they are supposed to be. Spend millions to keep the public safe, not create an eye-sore of a train and create a financial burden for our future generations.

By creating a Honolulu Department of Health to handle food safety inspections of food establishments on Oahu, that will only leave a little over 3,000 food establishments that the Hawaii Department of Health would have to inspect. Much more manageable than the current over 9,000 food establishment undertaking.

Waipahu – Before and After

Until recently the Department of Health couldn’t even get overtime approved to be able to inspect farmers markets that are mainly only open on weekends. Of which many vendors had not been inspected in years.

When are our elected officials going grow a pair and step up and do something about this? How many more millions have to be spent by taxpayers and local business owners? Who’s family member is going to have to die from a foodborne illness outbreak before something is done about it?

I say its time that we stop sitting back and waiting for change to happen. Let’s get off our rumps, and kick some elected official backsides until they do the job they were put in office to do. Lets hold them accountable!

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