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State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli's audit of Department of Agriculture and Markets inspections

State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli's audit of Department of Agriculture and Markets inspections

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Published by Cara Matthews
Audit of the Department of Agriculture and Markets' inspections of food establishments, January 2014
Audit of the Department of Agriculture and Markets' inspections of food establishments, January 2014

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Published by: Cara Matthews on Jan 30, 2014
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New York State Oce of the State Comptroller
Thomas P. DiNapoliDivision of State Government Accountability
Report 2013-S-27January 2014
Food Safety MonitoringDepartment of Agriculture and Markets
Division of State Government Accountability
Execuve Summary
To determine whether the Department of Agriculture and Markets (Department) adequately
monitors the processing, distribuon and sale of food products in New York State. The audit
covers the period April 1, 2011 to September 18, 2013.
The Department’s Division of Food Safety and Inspecon (Division) is responsible for enforcing State laws and Department regulaons related to food safety. The Division’s objecve is to ensure
a safe and properly labeled food supply - from the producer to the retailer to the consumer.
Major acvies include conducng unannounced sanitary inspecons of both current and new food producon/preparaon establishments, obtaining and analyzing food samples in support of its food safety/recall program, and invesgang consumer complaints. As of June 4, 2013, the Division was responsible for inspecng 31,401 establishments. From April 1, 2011 through June 4, 2013, it received 5,724 consumer complaints for invesgaon, and inspectors obtained 3,894 food samples for tesng to idenfy potenal violaons of food safety.
Key Findings
• The Division has been unable the meet the demands of its inspecon frequency schedule. As of June 4, 2013, inspecons were past due for almost 5,000 establishments. Another 439 new establishments did not yet have a required inial inspecon done prior to preparing food.
Our random sample of 45 of these new establishments found, on average, that license
applicaons had been on le for almost six months. Our visits found 19 (42 percent) were already preparing food without the required inspecon.• The Division’s sta of 82 inspectors is 27 to 37 percent below the level recommended by the U.S. Food and Drug Administraon. We idened several opportunies to more eecvely deploy exisng resources that could signicantly address exisng backlogs.Most consumer complaints are invesgated mely and the Department’s food sampling program is a naonally recognized leader in the eld. However, all programs could benet
from performance measurement systems that provide managers and supervisors with access to relevant data and provide appropriate training in data analysis to program management.
Key Recommendaons
• Establish performance measures for food inspecon acvies, including Department-wide policy governing such things as work scheduling and me allowances for local travel.• Establish procedures to further priorize and ensure mely compleon of inspecons of new
• Increase eorts to provide coordinated real-me access to data among divisions and obtain training on how to use that data to perform necessary analycs to monitor performance, including acvies such as inspecons and complaint response.
Other Related Audits/Reports of Interest
Division of State Government Accountability
State of New YorkOce of the State ComptrollerDivision of State Government Accountability
January 30, 2014James B. Bays
Acng Commissioner
Department of Agriculture and Markets10B Airline Drive
Albany, NY 12235Dear Commissioner Bays:The Oce of the State Comptroller is commied to helping State agencies, public authories and local government agencies manage government resources eciently and eecvely and, by so doing, providing accountability for tax dollars spent to support government operaons. The Comptroller oversees the scal aairs of State agencies, public authories and local government
agencies, as well as their compliance with relevant statutes and their observance of good business
pracces. This scal oversight is accomplished, in part, through our audits, which idenfy opportunies for improving operaons. Audits can also idenfy strategies for reducing costs and
strengthening controls that are intended to safeguard assets.
Following is a report of our audit entled
Food Safety Monitoring
. The audit was performed
pursuant to the State Comptroller’s authority as set forth in Arcle V, Secon 1 of the State Constuon and Arcle II, Secon 8 of the State Finance Law. This audit’s results and recommendaons are resources for you to use in eecvely managing your operaons and in meeng the expectaons of taxpayers. If you have any quesons about
this report, please feel free to contact us.
Respecully submied,
Oce of the State Comptroller Division of State Government Accountability 

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