As advocates of the state’s kosher law enforcement unit pressed Gov. Andrew Cuomo to restore funding for its inspectors, the Department of Agriculture and Markets, which oversees the unit announced a plan Monday to train 85 food safety inspectors to do the job.
Cuomo’s predecessor, David Paterson, terminated the kosher inspectors as part of spending reductions. Kosher Division Director Rabbi Luzer Weiss will now train the safety inspectors to ensure that the proper disclosures are posted in retail establishments as required by an amended 2004 law.
The Department will continue to maintain an on-line registry of food products represented as kosher.
“With this extended work force, the Department will be able to consolidate responsibilities and eliminate overlapping services, making more efficient use of taxpayer dollars and saving the State nearly $1 million, all while providing the same level of service,” said Agriculture Commissioner Patrick Hooker.
Rabbi Weiss added, “Given the State’s fiscal condition, it is incumbent upon us to make our programs operate more efficiently and effectively. As a consumer of Kosher food myself, I am confident that we will be able to maintain the same or better level of protection with this expanded force of inspectors.”