THE CARROLL COX SHOW
NEWS AND COMMENTARY
WHAT THE DOH WILL NOT TELL US
KURU KURU SUSHI IMPLICATED IN SALMONELLA CASE
Dr. Chiyome Fukino, Director of the Department of Health, showed little or no compassion for the unsuspecting public who would have benefited from Fukino’s full disclosure of the commercial establishment(s) implicated in the State and Federal Government’s trace back investigation after at least five people reported they had eaten “Spicy AHI” tuna purchased from Kuru Kuru Sushi, 98-199 Kamehameha Highway, Aiea, Hawaii. The illnesses were attributed to the presence of Salmonella Paratyphi B in imported, cubed, and previously frozen tuna treated with carbon monoxide, possibly imported from Indonesia or Vietnam. This is what made up the “Spicy Ahi” consumed by the effected people.
Fukino also knows the names of a couple of other retailers identified in the trace back investigation but felt it was more important to protect the retailers of this contaminated fish than to properly inform the public, which would have enabled them to determine whether or not they have, or will, patronize these retail facilities in the future.
Fukino and her staff are not to be trusted. Critical information that can help sensitive consumers with compromised immune deficiencies, the elderly, or children, will help them avoid this product. Instead, Fukino engaged in a behavior to generate press releases that raise more questions than answers. Take, for example, in her April 22, 2010, press release she failed to provide the public with the trace back information that indicated her investigators had documented 10 cases of illnesses caused by the consumption of “previously frozen internationally imported raw ahi” contaminated with Salmonella Paratyphi B . Fukino told the public about dates of cases that occurred in other states, but only told us in general terms that cases in Hawaii only occurred on Oahu.
We attempted to contact Mr. Lance Yamamoto, manager/owner of Kuru Kuru Sushi, by telephone and we personally visited the shop. Yamamoto did not return our telephone calls and he did not meet with us. It is my opinion that given the serious nature of the information that was documented by the Department of Health and the federal health agency, Kuru Kuru Sushi should have responded to our questions instead of ignoring our requests. I don’t know about you, but I would respect any retailer that is open to queries from the public to ease their minds and insure them that their business (Kuru Kuru) has their health and well being at heart. Instead, they hid behind Fukino’s attempts to cover up the names and identity of retailers, like Kuru Kuru, who have sold and served “previously frozen internationally imported raw ahi” that was contaminated with Salmonella Paratyphi B.
Fukino refused to grant an interview. We will continue to pursue this matter and bring you the names of other retailers Fukino is shamefully concealing from the public.
I suspect that Fukino only provided a sketchy explanation on this recent cluster of illnesses caused by Salmonella Paratyphi B because she didn’t want us to break the story and embarrass her agency as we did approximately two years ago when we uncovered the fact that Fukino and her staff knew for several months that there were a cluster of 35 illnesses caused by Salmonella Paratyphi B and tried to cover it up. They only informed the public after we had gone to the media with information that her office was concealing the illnesses.
We want to know - what would prompt Fukino to jeopardize the health and welfare of the public by protecting the retailers? Her boss, Governor Lingle, promised transparency and a government that is accountable, yet her health department's appointed director is protecting retailers and big business, leaving the public exposed and potentially harmed from eating contaminated food. What happened there?