FMI Testifies on Food Stamp Fraud Prevention

The Food Marketing Institute (FMI) testified March 8 before the U.S. House of Representatives Oversight and Government Reform Committee on the industry’s efforts to prevent fraud in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. Jennifer Hatcher, SVP of government and public affairs at Arlington, Va.-based FMI, spoke on behalf of the trade association.

U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services Kevin Concannon; Inspector General Phyllis K. Fong; and Pennsylvania Officer of Inspector General’s Inspector General Kenya Mann Faulkner also testified on the hearing panel.

“SNAP EBT is a positive example of a public-private partnership that works and that adds efficiency and reduces fraud for all stakeholders in the program -- the state agencies, the retailers and the customers,” noted Hatcher before the committee, adding: “In large part, due to the conversion to electronic delivery of benefits rather than paper Food Stamps, a significant portion of the fraud has been removed from the system. … Electronic delivery has also provided state agencies with a better mechanism to compare transaction activity and look for duplication across state lines, particularly within states that share a common border.”

According to Hatcher, “Being an authorized SNAP retailer is part of [FMI members’] identity and reputation in the community, which is very important for them to protect.”

She concluded that the food retail industry was eager to work with the committee and USDA to make the SNAP program even more efficient.

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