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State operating in 'crisis management' mode, official says
By Mary VorsinoAdvertiser Urban Honolulu Writer
A highly publicized rat problem at a Chinatown market is again highlighting the shortage of state food safety inspectors - whose O'ahu ranks have dwindled from 23 in 1988 to nine today - and one state senator called the problem a serious public health concern.
State Sen. David Ige, D-16th (Pearl City, 'Aiea), chairman of the Health Committee, said there is an immediate public health need to beef up the number of inspectors charged with overseeing about 5,700 food establishments on O'ahu.
And he added that the rat problem in Chinatown's Kekaulike Market may not have gotten quite so bad if there were more inspectors.
"You cannot eliminate the problem," he said, "but clearly you would have been able to see signs of a problem before it got to the point where it is today."
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