Surplus Commodities:

Temporary Emergency Food Assistance Program's Operations and Continuance

RCED-88-11: Published: Oct 19, 1987. Publicly Released: Oct 23, 1987.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Temporary Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), focusing on the views of Georgia, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania regarding the: (1) appropriateness of the method for allocating commodities and funds among states; and (2) potential effects of the program's continuation on the states.

GAO found that: (1) since USDA uses a different method to allocate commodities than the states use to request them, the amount differs from what the states can effectively use; (2) USDA did not always distribute administrative funds to states in a timely manner; (3) state costs for operating TEFAP increased because of new USDA regulations for monitoring, recordkeeping, and other administrative functions; (4) the new regulations requiring states to match each federal dollar they use solely for state-level activities will further increase their operating costs; and (5) states believe that they require a permanent program with sufficient funding and minimal regulatory changes to implement TEFAP systematically.

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