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    Experiences involving food in Hawai'i

    These information pages can help you get started in learning about some of the laws and registration requirements that may apply to your experiences on Airbnb. These pages include summaries of some of the rules that may apply to different sorts of activities, and contain links to government resources that you may find helpful.

    Please understand that these information pages are not comprehensive, and are not legal advice. If you are unsure about how local laws or this information may apply to you or your Experience, we encourage you to check with official sources or seek legal advice.

    Please note that we don’t update this information in real time, so you should confirm that the laws or procedures have not changed recently.*

    What are some things to keep in mind?

    Your guest’s health and safety should always come first. For example, take your guests to and serve them food from reputable restaurants, food trucks or professional caterers who keep clean facilities, use fresh ingredients and have a good food safety track record. If your experience involves you cooking or handling food (including storing or serving food prepared by others), be sure you handle, prepare and serve food safely and with good hygiene. We encourage you to review the USDA’s tips for handling food safely. Also, ask your guests in advance whether they have food allergies or religious or philosophical codes that may affect the kind of food that they will enjoy during their trip.

    Note that the Hawai‘i State Department of Health has an online portal that lets consumers see how Hawai‘i restaurants and other food service organizations fare in food safety inspections. Access to data from food safety inspection reports, complete with descriptions of violations, gives consumers a behind-the-scenes glimpse at food safety and sanitation practices — or a lack of them — at the food outlets they frequent. See http://hi.healthinspections.us/Hawai‘i/

    I’m a foodie. What kind of food experiences can I provide in Hawai‘i?

    The following food experiences are unlikely to trigger any regulatory issues:

    • Taking your guests to your favorite local restaurants or food trucks.
    • Inviting your guests to your home or a picnic where you serve food that is cooked in a licensed facility, e.g., take-out from your favorite local restaurants or food catered by a professional licensed caterer.

    If you’re thinking of serving home-cooked food, please carefully read our home-cooked food guidance and check with an attorney to make sure you are following the law.

    I want to serve home-cooked food to guests visiting my home. Are there any specific rules I need to follow?

    The key question is whether serving home-cooked food in your private home to occasional guests results in your being considered a retail “food establishment” under Hawai‘i Administrative Rules (“HARs”).

    If you charge guests for your experience, it probably qualifies as a regulated “retail” activity under the HARs. Note that there is no specific private home exemption.

    However, there is an exemption for a “bed and breakfast” operation. A “bed and breakfast” operation is one where food is served to no more than six guests, and the person preparing the food has secured a “food protection certification.” In addition, the food must be of a lower risk food category and the adequate signage must be made visible to guests that food was “Made in a home kitchen not routinely inspected by the Department of Health.”

    In short, if you’re thinking about serving home-cooked food to paying guests that is not homemade food, you may be at risk of enforcement by the State of Hawai‘i Department of Health.

    This is a tricky area, so we encourage you to speak with an attorney or the Department of Health directly to make sure you are following your local laws.

    What is Homemade Food?

    There are a number of “homemade food” products that can be both prepared and sold inside and outside of your home. Homemade food sales do not require a food establishment permit. However, homemade food operations can only make food that is not potentially hazardous. The Department of Health considers the following food products to be “homemade foods:” bread, rolls, mocha, cakes cookies and pastries; candies and confections; jams, jellies and preserves; cereals, trail mixes, granola and popcorn. This list does not include all foods, but it covers most types of approved homemade food products.

    Cheesecakes, custards, pies and similar items that require refrigeration will not qualify as a homemade food. Other foods not allowed under the category of “homemade food” include fermented foods, acidified foods, canned or bottled foods, dried meats or seafood, low acid canned foods and garlic in oil. Examples of these foods include kimchee, pickles, and beef jerky.

    I’m a great cook. Can I give cooking lessons for a fee to my guests?

    If you want to teach a cooking lesson in a private home, please carefully read the article above on home-cooked foods and speak to an attorney to make sure you are following your local laws. If you simply demonstrate cooking without serving the food, that should be okay to do without a permit.

    From time to time, Airbnb may also partner with select non-profits who either may provide licensed food facilities for hosts or may otherwise sponsor a food related event.

    Please note that we don’t update this information in real time, so you should confirm that the laws or procedures have not changed recently.*

    *Airbnb is not responsible for the reliability or correctness of the information contained in any links to third party sites (including any links to legislation and regulations).