The Next Front In The Food Stamp War

Food stamps are pictured. | Reuters

Whether significant cuts to SNAP are needed remains a hotly debated subject, but there is little argument over the need to reduce fraud in the program. Especially not after the USDAs report , released in August, found retailers willing to pay cash in return for the government food credit stole $858 million annually from government coffers from 2009 through 2011. Thats nearly triple the $330 million stolen annually from 2006 through 2008. Only about 15% of all the food stamps used by shoppers in the U.S. are spent at small stores, but they are also the source of 85% of the fraud, according to the USDAs report . The USDA report is essentially a follow up to a Government Accountability Office report released several years ago that told the USDA it needed to focus on small convenience and grocery stores in order to cut down on food stamp fraud. USDAhas good reason to see these small-scale, privately owned stores as a significance source of food stamp fraud. These stores are often short on the fresh fruit, vegetables and meat that SNAP vouchers are intended to purchase, the GAO report said. The USDA isnt waiting for further marching orders from Congress, having just wrapped up a five-city listening tour aimed at hearing the publics complaints and suggestions regarding SNAP fraud. The department also has issued what it calls a request for information in the Federal Register. The document, which is essentially a precursor to a new federal rule proposal, reveals that USDA is considering such measures as disqualifying smaller grocery stores and convenience stores from accepting food stamps if they sell large quantities of alcohol and tobacco or banning them from the government program if their primary business isnt selling food. Retail fraud, or trafficking, as the USDA calls it, has remained consistently low over recent years at large supermarkets, but it is spiking in smaller stores that often dont even stock $100 worth of the kind of food fruit, vegetables, bread, meat that they need to in order to participate in SNAP. In fact, of particular concern, according to USDA officials, are stores that place the bare minimum of products sometimes as little as a single can of corn in each of the three food-type varieties that the retailers need to stock in order to qualify to accept food stamps. USDAs Food and Nutrition Service, in a statement posted with the agencys call for public input on the trafficking problem, says it is concerned that there are a large and growing number of authorized retailers that do not provide healthful food offerings to SNAP recipients and that engage in fraud.

Fi & Hi India’s roadmap for food industry to reach $200 bn by 2015

Delhi: 2 constables dismissed from duty for allegedly assaulting minor girl

The 2013 edition of this event is being held from the October 3-5, at the Bombay Convention and Exhibition Centre, Goregaon, Mumbai. This growth will solidify the India’s position as a key player in the global food ingredients market. Fi & Hi India 2013 had its grand inauguration by Tariq Anwar, Union Minister of State, Agriculture and Food Processing . Also, part of the ceremony were dignitaries such as Ajit Singh, Chairman, ACG Worldwide; Piruz Khambatta, CMD, Rasna International; Chitranjan Dar, CEO, ITC Food; and Dr. Kalyan Goswami, Secretary General, AIFPA. During his inaugural address to the audience, Anwar said, “In the emerging global scenario, to meet the needs of the booming food processing sector, it is important that India gears itself to meet the domestic as well as international standards. The Indian food industry is currently employing 13 million workers and the companies in the food sector contribute 13 per cent of country’s exports. The Government of India is setting up food testing laboratories, storages etc. for processing food ingredients to ensure food safety. Fi & Hi India 2013 is giving companies a platform to showcase their innovative techniques and solutions in the food processing industry.” Launched in 2006, Fi & Hi India has been a major driving force behind India’s processed food sector. The 2013 edition of the event boasts of several features that provide both regional and global food professionals with an opportunity to learn about the latest industry developments, meet new business prospects, and launch new products in a bid to gain a competitor’s edge. This edition presents three days of premium onsite seminars, addressed by internationally renowned industry gurus such as Prabodh Halde (Marico), Dalbir Wariah (ITC Foods), C.M.Reddy (British Biologicals), and Vijayabhaskar Reddy (Dabur India). Also part of the lineup is a series of free one-on-one interactions with experts from the industry renowned – Leatherhead Market Research. Present at the event will be a rich mix of leading local, national and international industry players such as BASF India Limited, Cargill India, DKSH India Pvt Ltd, Fuerst Day Lawson India Pvt Ltd, Glanbia Nutritionals Singapore Pte Ltd, Mintel (Consulting) Singapore Pvt Ltd, Prova S.