KAILUA-KONA — The operator of a new eatery at Sheraton Kona and spa is facing a hefty fine for operating without a valid state Department of Health permit.
The Hawaii State Department of Health issued a Notice of Violation and Order against Kona Surf Partners LLC, which conducts business as Sheraton Kona Resort and Spa at Keauhou Bay, for operating its “Da Dog House” food establishment without a valid DOH permit, according to a departmental release Monday.
The DOH also levied a $20,000 fine against the resort for the infraction.
On Jan. 12, a DOH health inspector observed the Sheraton Kona Resort and Spa selling prepared food at Da Dog House, which at that time was not in possession of a valid, state-required food establishment permit.
Instead, the resort had posted a copy of its Convention Center food establishment permit at Da Dog House, which is located at the Sheraton’s oceanfront pool desk adjacent to its Holua’s Poolside Bar and Lounge.
The DOH determined Da Dog House had been operating illegally since Dec. 24, 2017, the release said.
“One of the most serious violations of the food safety code is operating without a valid permit,” Peter Oshiro, environmental health program manager, said in the release. “The permit process initiates the regular review and inspection of a food establishment to ensure compliance with basic health and safety requirements that provide standard protection against food illness.”
“In this case, the facility in question was operating without the requisite infrastructure needed to safely serve food, which includes basic plumbing to allow employees to wash their hands,” Oshiro continued. “The permit and inspection process ensures this and other basic food safety measures are in place.”
The Sheraton Kona Resort and Spa has 20 days to request a hearing to contest the notice.
While the resort did not return multiple phone calls requesting an interview, JoAnn Lenhardt, director of operations at the Sheraton Kona, released a statement via email Monday afternoon.
“It was recently brought to our attention that our new food service outlet was opened without a permit,” Lenhardt said. “This was due to an administrative error at the hotel. We are sorry this important step was overlooked by our team. We have been working closely with the State Department of Health to take the necessary steps to resolve the issue and reopen the outlet soon.”