State issues cease-and-desist order to farm for selling products with Salmonella

HONOLULU — The Hawaii State Department of Health Sanitation Branch has ordered Marine Agrifuture LLC (also known as Olakai Hawaii) to immediately cease and desist selling or distributing their products, Kahuku Ogo, Robusta Ogo and Sea Asparagus. The farm is located in Kahuku on Oahu.

Reports of Salmonella infections on Oahu were linked to consumption of ogo (or limu) and subsequently led to the investigation of Marine Agriculture LLC on Nov. 2 and 7.

During the investigation, testing was conducted on environmental, processing area, and ogo samples. Laboratory tests identified Salmonella bacteria in the packing and processing tanks and in the farm environment.

“Distributors and retailers have been notified to remove the affected products from sale or distribution immediately,” said Peter Oshiro, chief of the DOH Sanitation Branch. “We advise the public to discard any suspect product they may have.”

Marine Agrifuture is a major distributor of ogo and sea asparagus in Hawaii and its products may have been shipped to all islands as well as the mainland (California and Washington state). The department is still confirming all locations and states the product may have been shipped to.

Marine Agrifuture will be allowed to resume their sale of Kahuku Ogo, Robusta Ogo, and Sea Asparagus once the farm demonstrates to DOH that the risk of contamination from pathogenic bacteria has been mitigated at the source and that sanitation practices have been implemented to preclude contamination during the processing of the food product. DOH will continue to work with the farm and will require retesting of areas and products to assure food safety.

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