As we’ve reported here on Matzav.com, New York State has eliminated the kosher food inspectors from the budget in a move officials will save almost $1 million. In their place, the 85 food safety inspectors around New York will be trained in kosher registry information provided by the rabbi in charge of the now defunct program.
Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther, who represents Sullivan County, doesn’t like the move.
“I don’t know how long the training will take and I think it’s important to have part of that community involved and who are in the know in regarding kosher food and how to touch it and how to handle in those positions,” she said.
Howard Katzenstein is with the Orthodox Union, which oversees kosher food preparation and labeling worldwide. He said you don’t have to be Jewish to eat kosher food.
“Bear in mind that the kosher consumers are not only Jewish consumers, but also vegetarians, Seventh Day Adventists, Moslems, individuals with food allergies,” he said. “Mislabelings occur sometimes intentionally, sometimes unintentionally and the state was quicker to respond than would a lawsuit which drags its way through the slow wheels of the justice system.
Rabbi Luzer Wiess, who will be retained to educate the safety inspectors, said given the state’s fiscal condition, “it is incumbent upon us to make our programs operate more efficiently and effectively.” He said he is confident that the inspectors will be able to maintain “the same or better level of protection with this expanded force of inspectors.”