No, New York’s outgoing Gov. David Paterson is not an anti-Semite. But budget cuts instituted by his office have, ehem, gutted New York state’s kosher police. This poses some serious concerns about fraud in the multi-billion-dollar kosher food industry.
The elimination of the jobs will save an estimated $1 million a year in salary, benefits and services, such as computers and cars, according to a spokeswoman for the department.
Several lawmakers, Jewish leaders and kosher businesses are lobbying incoming Gov. Andrew Cuomo to restore the cuts. A spokesman for Mr. Cuomo couldn’t be reached for comment.
Those who advocate reinstating the inspectors note that the cuts affect not only Jewish consumers, but a growing non-Jewish population of people who eats kosher food, including Seventh Day Adventists, Muslims and individuals with dietary restrictions.
“New York is the largest kosher market in the United States, so we hope that the government can find some place within the budget to, if not maintain the entire department, at least maintain some part of it,” said Rabbi Menachem Genack, chief executive officer of the kosher division of the Orthodox Union in Manhattan.