Analysis of Department of Agriculture Report on Fraud and Abuse in Child Nutrition Programs

CED-81-81: Published: Mar 9, 1981. Publicly Released: Mar 13, 1981.

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GAO was asked to analyze a recent joint report issued by the Department of Agriculture's Office of the Inspector General (OIG) and Food and Nutrition Service on fraud and abuse in child nutrition programs. Specifically, GAO reviewed the school lunch program. The purpose of the review was to verify some of the OIG findings and dollar projections since the Food and Nutrition Service disputed their validity.

GAO found that the great variability in the results of school feeding programs at different locations and times makes projections of the dollar impact of deficiency findings very difficult. GAO believes that the dollar impact amounts discussed in the joint report should be used with caution. Nevertheless, the OIG review has highlighted very serious and extensive problems about the integrity of school feeding programs. Although GAO does not agree with OIG in every instance, GAO believes that these problems represent program abuse with significant dollar impacts, particularly when viewed from a total school-year basis and not just the 1-month basis used in the report.

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