From Forest Hills Patch:
The new year won't be happy for New York State's kosher food inspectors, as Gov. David Paterson decided this month to terminate them as of Jan. 1, 2011, as part of an effort to trim a budget deficit that will probably exceed $10 billion next fiscal year.
Paterson plans to slash about 95 percent of funding for the Division of Kosher Law Enforcement, which is part of the state's agriculture department. Currently, the state employs eight kosher food inspectors who carry out about 5,000 inspections a year, examining roughly 3,000 food sellers and manufacturers. All eight will lose their jobs.
However, local politicians and other members of the observant Jewish community railed against the decision, claiming that the state will lose its ability to ensure the integrity of kosher products, thus weakening kosher traditions and respect for kosher law.
"These cuts would undoubtedly mean that untrained Agriculture and Markets inspectors would monitor kosher food, resulting in little or no protection from fraudulent products," said State Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky. "Who is going to make sure that hot dogs containing pork products don't wind up next to the Hebrew National ones?"
There are about 82,000 kosher-certified products for sale in New York State, which is the world's largest manufacturer and consumer of kosher products outside of Israel. The state has enforced kosher inspections since 1915.
Interestingly, there is no Division of Halal Law Enforcement... Why was the state funding a religious practice in the first place?