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Proposed budget cuts will alter La. retail food inspections

by Bill Fuller, Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Proposed state budget cuts will have an effect on those who like to eat out and buy groceries.

If the budget proposed by Gov. John Bel Edwards for next year is approved, there will be fewer inspections of the retail food industry.

The Department of Health and Hospitals is planning for a possible staff reduction that could include up to 16 sanitarian staff members.

DHH Deputy Secretary Michelle Alletto said the impact would be 20,700 fewer retail food inspections next year. Alletto says a decrease in routine inspections like this is likely to result in an increase in unsafe food handling practices which is likely to increase the number of citizens and visitors who are exposed to food borne illnesses.

Lawmakers are considering ways to close a $750 million shortfall in the state budget year that begins July 1.