Pets allowed in stores that sell no food
: While shopping at the Ross Mililani store, another customer had her small dog in her cart. As I checked out, I asked the clerk if they permitted animals in the store and she checked with someone else who said that there was no rule prohibiting animals. Is there a law which prohibits this practice? It seems unsanitary as the next person to use the cart may have a baby -- also, just putting clothes in a cart where an animal has been seems unsanitary.
Answer: There is no law that prohibits dogs and other animals in retail establishments unless that business has a permit from the state Department of Health to sell food.
A permit is not required for the selling of "pre-packaged, non-potentially hazardous food," explained Rex Mitsunaga, chief of the department's Sanitation Branch.
It then would be a business's policy or decision to allow dogs or other pets, he said.
In establishments with a required Health Department permit, live animals, including birds and turtles, are prohibited under Section 11-12-47(e) of the Hawaii Administrative Rules, Mitsunaga said.
However, the exclusion does not apply to "decorative fish in aquariums, or to edible fish, crustacea, shellfish and other edible plants and animals properly maintained in approved display or storage facilities."
Patrol dogs accompanying security or police officers, and signal or service animals accompanying persons with disabilities are allowed in dining, sales and office areas, while sentry animals are allowed to run loose in outside fenced areas.
Q: I was told that eating starfruit is not good for people with liver or kidney problems. Is this true?
A: Starfruit, or verrhoa carambola, contains an unidentified neurotoxin that affects people with chronic kidney disease, most of them on dialysis, confirmed Carrie Mukaida, a renal dietitian in the Division of Nephrology at Kaiser-Permanente in Moanalua.
If you don't have an existing kidney problem, there shouldn't be any negative affects to eating the fruit, she said. She did not have any information about starfruit affecting people with liver problems, and we could not find any either.
Mukaida has had only one patient who attributed problems -- insomnia -- to eating the fruit, but there have been case reports of more than 50 kidney patients in Taiwan and Brazil who suffered varying symptoms. Most recovered, but some did die, Mukaida said.
Symptoms ranged from "intractable hiccups, vomiting, altered mental status, insomnia, muscle weakness and parasthesias (numbness), seizures, loss of consciousness," she said. "Since the symptoms are pretty non-specific, it is likely that only a very astute clinician could make the diagnosis."
Alan Titchenal and Joannie Dobbs covered the starfruit-kidney connection in their Health Options column in the Star-Bulletin in 2003. See starbulletin.com/2003/04/28/features/health.html.
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