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.