January 6, 2011
N.Y. safety inspectors taking over kosher duties
New York safety inspectors will be trained to do the work of kosher inspectors, after budget cuts depleted the state’s kosher division.
Rabbi Luzer Weiss, the director of the now defunct Kosher Division of the New York Department of Agriculture and Markets, will train the 85 inspectors to ensure that the proper disclosures are posted in kosher retail establishments, The New York Jewish Week reported.
A 2004 change in the state’s kosher law prevents state inspectors from enforcing Orthodox standards of kashrut. According to the new law, kosher establishments must disclose the standards they use and under whose authority they operate, but are not required to adhere to Orthodox regulations.
Weiss is the only employee left in the kosher division, which once employed 11 inspectors, following budget cuts and retirements in the past year. The cuts will save up to $1 million a year in salary, benefits and services, according to reports.
Lawmakers, Jewish leaders and kosher businesses are lobbying New York’s new governor, Andrew Cuomo, to restore the division.