An audit by the state Comptroller has found that New York food inspectors can't keep up with demand, allowing thousands of inspections to expire.
The state's Division of Food Safety and Inspection is responsible for overseeing everything from delis to food warehouses.
However, the report shows a backlog of nearly 5,000 inspections that need to be completed.
The comptroller says that in the past two years, more than 400 establishments have opened without any inspection at all.
Auditors recommended adjusting schedules and changing work practices to increase inspector efficiency.
The head of the state Department of Agriculture says a new electronic system being implemented should help speed things up.