POSTED: Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Schools banish all peanut products

Peanut butter has not been on the menu at Hawaii's public schools for two years, and yesterday the Department of Education suspended use of any peanut-based products that might have been in snack programs.

Cafeteria managers have reviewed their food inventories and found no products being recalled by the Food and Drug Administration, according to a news release yesterday from the state Department of Education.

Superintendent Patricia Hamamoto directed schools to stop ordering or using peanut-based products until further notice. “;In light of the growing list of peanut-based recalled items by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the moratorium on peanut-based products in Hawaii's public schools is an extra safety precaution,”; said Superintendent Patricia Hamamoto.

Three Hawaii cases of Salmonella typhimurium have been linked with the nationwide outbreak, but there has been no verification that the victims had been exposed to any of the recalled peanut products, according to the state Health Department.

The FDA has traced the nationwide outbreak of salmonella illness and deaths to Peanut Corporation of America. A list of recalled products is available from the FDA at http://www.fda.gov/oc/opacom/hottopics/salmonellatyph.html#recalls.


Firm searches for new UH president

A committee searching for a new University of Hawaii president expects to narrow its choices to between eight and 10 semifinalists in the next month.

The school's Advisory Presidential Selection Committee met at the UH Manoa campus yesterday after completing “;listening tours”; statewide to hear from students, faculty and the community about the selection of a new UH leader.

Among key areas the public wants the next university president to work on include streamlining the transfer of credits throughout the 10-campus system and partnering with K-12 schools to prevent students from taking remedial courses, according to search firm Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates. The company is being paid $100,000 plus expenses to help the school find a replacement for UH President David McClain, who is to step down July 31 and take a yearlong, paid sabbatical.

It said the public also stressed the need to hire a president who understands native Hawaiian culture, makes tough financial decisions and looks beyond state funding to run the university. Without revealing names, the search firm said it has found some “;outstanding candidates,”; and that it is on target to chose a new UH president by July.

The school has also launched a Web site, www.hawaii.edu/president, to post updates about the search and receive public comments.