ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) _ New York auditors say the state's food inspections are lagging, allowing 5,000 manufacturers, supermarkets, wholesale bakeries and other businesses to operate without updated inspections last year.
The New York Comptroller's Office says the backlog also allowed 439 new establishments to operate without a required initial inspection.
Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli says the Department of Agriculture and Markets is ``falling behind'' in its responsibility to ensure that what the public eats is safe.
The department's Division of Food Safety and Inspection is responsible for inspecting more than 31,000 establishments, including beverage processors, food warehouses and slaughterhouses.
From April 1, 2011 through June 4, 2013, it received more than 5,700 consumer complaints and inspectors obtained nearly 3,900 food samples for testing to identify potential violations of food safety.
Auditors say most of those investigations are timely.