There is the chance of a reduction in retail food inspectors if lawmakers approve of the governor’s proposed budget for next fiscal year. This would result in an 11% reduction in inspectors. Department of Health and Hospital spokesperson Bob Johannessen says this means they will not be able to inspect as many grocery stores and restaurants as they should.
“The result is that we would likely see an increase in unsafe food handling practices and it very well could reduce the number of food borne illnesses we see reported in the state.”
Johannessen says a reduction in food inspectors will result in more than 20,000 fewer inspections after July 1st. He says this could impact people’s health and hurt tourism in Louisiana because we’re known for our great food.
“New Orleans and other cities get a lot of tourists simply because of the food, the less those places are inspected, the greater likelihood that somebody could get sick.”
Johannessen says they’re working now to let lawmakers know the risks associated with cutting 16 sanitarians. He says food retailers welcome the inspections.
“They recognize that all it takes is one instance of a food borne illness outbreak to impact not just that particular store but restaurants in general.