Molokai's Kanemitsu's Bakery was hit with a $90,000 dollar penalty for making and selling its products in unsanitary conditions earlier this year.
The latest violation shows just how infrequent island restaurants and food establishments are inspected. But that could soon be changing.
Kanemitsu's Bakery has been serving up baked goods on Molokai for over three quarters of a century. Many rave about their breads, but the state Department of Health inspector found plenty she didn't like during a visit in March.
"They've been in business for a long time. They should know what is expected of them but the inspector found a lot of major violations for basic sanitary conditions," said Lynn Nakasone, the Administrator for the Environmental Health Service Division.
On March 7, the inspector found cooking tools weren't properly cleaned and sanitized, rodents weren't adequately controlled and other major problems. Kanemitsu's Bakery was also subject to an enforcement action by the health department in 2000 for unsanitary conditions.
"There was a pattern of cleaning up and then allowing this situation to re-occur," said Nakasone.
But even with a history of violations, the business wasn't inspected more frequently because there is only one health inspector for all of Molokai.
Just like the rest of the state, inspections fall far below what federal guidelines suggest.
"The Food and Drug Administration suggests inspections at some restaurants take place three times a year. Right now, we're inspecting at two to two-and-a half years," said Peter Oshiro, the head of the state's Sanitation Branch.
To increase inspectors, the Department of Health is training three new employees and has been given the go-ahead to hire five more inspectors.
It is also working on a plan to triple the number of inspectors in the future by increasing licensing fees for food establishments.
Right now the average restaurant licensing fee is $46 per year. But if approved, the fee would increase to $196 per year.
"Our increase literally comes out to less than a dollar a day. So if you sell a 100 plate lunches a day, it comes out to a penny a plate lunch in order to secure food safety for the public," said Oshiro.
Some small eateries, like Opulicious which has only been in businesses for 8 months, can't spare even those extra pennies.
"You do need inspectors to make sure that we're doing what we're supposed to be doing but not at the expense of the small business owners," said Kelli Chun, the owner of Opulicious.
But Oshiro feels not adding more inspectors could be even costlier.
"Food illness these days doesn't just mean a sore stomach and vomiting. People die from ecoli and other serious infections that can get into our food supply," said Oshiro.
While the new inspectors will soon start to take on some of that busy workload, it won't be until this fall that public hearings will be held over the proposed increase in restaurant licensing fees. Which means the money, a potential $1.3 million, for a big increase in inspectors is at least a year away.