- Associated Press - Monday, April 25, 2016

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - More Louisiana residents and visitors could be exposed to food borne illnesses if lawmakers approve a budget proposed by Gov. John Bel Edwards for next year calling for fewer inspections of the retail food industry.

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

DHH Deputy Secretary Michelle Alletto said that would mean 20,700 fewer retail food inspections next year. Alletto says such a decrease in routine inspections is likely to result in an increase in unsafe food handling practices and raise 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.

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