Division of State Government Accountability
To determine whether the Department of Agriculture and Markets (Department) adequately
monitors the processing, distribuon 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 Inspecon (Division) is responsible for enforcing State laws and Department regulaons related to food safety. The Division’s objecve is to ensure
a safe and properly labeled food supply - from the producer to the retailer to the consumer.
Major acvies include conducng unannounced sanitary inspecons of both current and new food producon/preparaon establishments, obtaining and analyzing food samples in support of its food safety/recall program, and invesgang consumer complaints. As of June 4, 2013, the Division was responsible for inspecng 31,401 establishments. From April 1, 2011 through June 4, 2013, it received 5,724 consumer complaints for invesgaon, and inspectors obtained 3,894 food samples for tesng to idenfy potenal violaons of food safety.
• The Division has been unable the meet the demands of its inspecon frequency schedule. As of June 4, 2013, inspecons were past due for almost 5,000 establishments. Another 439 new establishments did not yet have a required inial inspecon done prior to preparing food. •
Our random sample of 45 of these new establishments found, on average, that license
applicaons had been on le for almost six months. Our visits found 19 (42 percent) were already preparing food without the required inspecon.• The Division’s sta of 82 inspectors is 27 to 37 percent below the level recommended by the U.S. Food and Drug Administraon. We idened several opportunies to more eecvely deploy exisng resources that could signicantly address exisng backlogs.• Most consumer complaints are invesgated mely and the Department’s food sampling program is a naonally recognized leader in the eld. However, all programs could benet
from performance measurement systems that provide managers and supervisors with access to relevant data and provide appropriate training in data analysis to program management.
• Establish performance measures for food inspecon acvies, including Department-wide policy governing such things as work scheduling and me allowances for local travel.• Establish procedures to further priorize and ensure mely compleon of inspecons of new
• Increase eorts to provide coordinated real-me access to data among divisions and obtain training on how to use that data to perform necessary analycs to monitor performance, including acvies such as inspecons and complaint response.
Other Related Audits/Reports of Interest