The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service announced Thursday that it is hiring a “chief integrity officer” to prevent fraud in the nation’s food stamp program.
Brandon Lipps — the acting deputy undersecretary for USDA’s Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services — said that the chief integrity officer would oversee the food stamp program and suggest improvements to maintain the program’s integrity, so those who receive benefits are the ones who really need them.
“Where protection of taxpayer dollars is concerned – the job is never done,” Lipps said in a statement. “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 USDA also announced that it would conduct a “third-party review” of all 15 nutrition assistance programs—including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); the Women, Infants, and Children Program (WIC); National School Lunch and School Breakfast programs; and the Summer Food Service Program.
“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.
The agency had rolled out several initiatives over the past few months aiming to reform the nation’s food stamp program.
The USDA announced in February that it would be rolling out its “Harvest Box” program to give food stamp recipients a box of food as part of their monthly benefits package and released a plan in January that would implement work requirements for food stamp recipients nationwide.