Cockroach infestation nets red placard for Kona eatery

Local News

The Genki Sushi in Kailua-Kona has been issued a red placard by the state Health Department — because of a cockroach infestation.

The Hawaii island location was inspected following multiple customer complaints.

“We are working closely with the Department of Health (DOH) to take all necessary actions to correct this situation,” said Genki Sushi USA Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer Mary Hansen. “The health and safety of our customers are our primary concerns, and we are thoroughly cleaning the restaurant and bringing in an exterminator to ensure it fully complies with DOH guidelines and requirements. All of our restaurants have monthly exterminator appointments and all locations passed their most recent DOH inspections, including the Kona location. We’re hoping the DOH can inspect the restaurant tomorrow and allow us to open for business.” 

Just as the busy lunch hour was getting underway, a health inspector — and a pest control representative — visited the Kailua-Kona Genki Sushi at about 11:30 a.m.

Customers had complained to the Health Department about seeing roaches inside the restaurant.

One customer reported seeing a roach on the conveyor belt that transports food around the tables.

Eric Honda, district environmental health program chief on Hawaii island, says the inspectors saw them too — and described it as an infestation.

More than 50 dead roaches were found inside the conveyor belt housing and electrical control box.

“Some of the food-contact surfaces included gloves, paper towels used for hand-washing, I think it was single-use disposable take-out containers.”

Additionally, roaches were living in bumpers used to keep foods on the conveyor belt.

No illnesses were reported in connection with the Kailua-Kona location — but Genki Sushi has been in the news before, for making people sick.

Scallops from the Philippines served at Genki Sushi on Oahu and Kauai were the source of a Hepatitis-A outbreak that sickened nearly 300 people in 2016. 

Other businesses were involved, since employees infected at Genki also spread the illness. 

A multi-million dollar settlement in a resulting class-action lawsuit was announced last year.

We contacted Genki Sushi for comment and they have yet to respond.

Peter Bellisario, founder of Peter B Food Safety Audits, works with restaurants on cleanliness and food safety.

“On this report it says, it doesn’t say that there was a pest control visit recently. The manager says he doesn’t recall when they were there, and that’s a big point as well.”

Bellisario recommends that most restaurants get pest control service at least once a month.

In other red placard news, Paddlers Restaurant and Bar on Molokai was closed for infestation and maintenance issues May 7th. 

The restaurant has announced on its Facebook page that it will reopen Thursday.

Here’s a peek into how the infestation looks:

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