USDA to create nutrition integrity officer
The Agriculture Department’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) will create the position of chief integrity officer, USDA Acting Deputy Undersecretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Brandon Lipps has announced.
“Where protection of taxpayer dollars is concerned,the job is never done,” Lipps said in a March 29 news release. “Today we are renewing our commitment to ensuring that our nutrition programs are run as effectively and efficiently as possible; increasing program integrity while maintaining the nutrition safety net for those truly in need.”
The chief integrity officer will be located in the office of the FNS administrator and will manage oversight, improvements and overall integrity strategy in all 15 federal feeding programs, Lipps said.
In addition, FNS has initiated an independent, third-party review of its integrity efforts across the agency’s nutrition programs, Lipps added. This comprehensive review will identify possible improvements to the process, as well as explore promising practices across government and the private sector.
“Integrity is essential to meeting the mission of all FNS nutrition programs, now and into the future. we will continue to improve operations and outcomes in close collaboration with its state and local partners to combat waste, fraud, and abuse and best serve our participants and American taxpayers,” said Lipps.
FNS administers 15 nutrition assistance programs, including the National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs, the Child and Adult Care Food Program, the Summer Food Service Program, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children known as WIC, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
The announcement came amidst the controversy in the House Agriculture Committee over the proposal of House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway, R-Texas, to add more work requirements to SNAP participation in the next farm bill.
Conaway has not released his proposal, but anti-hunger groups and House Democrats have called it unacceptable.
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