State Bill: Post Food Violations Online


Call it Zomick’s bill.

Although Zomick’s Bakery of Inwood, L.I., a major kosher food manufacturer, had failed nearly 60 percent of state food inspections because of vermin infestation since 2005, few knew about it.

State law required only that a notice of a failed state inspection be posted conspicuously at each public entrance of Zomick’s plant. And a spokesman for the State Department of Agriculture and Markets said its Food and Safety division made it a practice “not to share inspection records with third parties.”

That would all change under a bill to be submitted this week by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan). It would require the department to post online all food inspection violations.

A memo explaining the bill noted that the state has jurisdiction over about 28,000 food handling establishments. It conducts sanitary inspections, handles consumer complaints, seizes unfit and adulterated foods, and enforces and regulates the state’s kosher food laws.

“Posting the inspection results on a government website, such as the department’s or Open New York, would provide easier access to violation information to the public, especially for food purchased when the consumer doesn’t physically visit the establishment where it is produced or sold,” it said.

The web sites would detail the violation, the date of the inspection, the name and address of the business, the brand name of the products produced at that location, and the penalty imposed by the department.

“People rely on safe processing practices and accurate labeling to protect their families from contaminated food, to avoid life-threatening food allergens and to make sure they are adhering to whatever dietary restrictions they follow. This will be an invaluable resource for all consumers, as it will allow them to make better informed choices about what foods to buy.”

In the case of Zomick’s, it was certified kosher by OK Kosher Certification in Brooklyn and the Vaad Hakashrus of the Five Towns and Far Rockaway despite the vermin infestation.

Zomick’s said it has made many significant changes to its plant’s operation and has passed its two most recent state inspections.