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GAO opens school feeder investigation

WASHINGTON The Government Accountability Office said Tuesday that it has opened an investigation into potential contract abuses by foodservice management companies involved with the National School Lunch Program.

Kate Brown, a spokeswoman for the congressional watchdog agency, said the probe extends to “any company that contracts with school food authorities,” but she declined to name the concerns.

“They all would be subject to the review we’re doing,” she said. “Whenever we have companies contracting with school food authorities to receive federal funds, we’re interested in how they are carrying out their responsibilities and whether they are abiding by the terms of their contracts or not.”

The investigation was requested by Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro, chairwoman of the House Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration Appropriations Subcommittee.

“This is about oversight, making sure that if you’re saying you’re going to provide X amount of meals you’re actually doing that and not overcharging,” said Adriana Surfas, a spokeswoman for DeLauro, D-Conn.

Brown said the GAO is “looking broadly at internal controls; that will be our focus.” She further indicated the investigation would be completed by September.

Representatives of Aramark, Sodexho USA and Compass Group North America all said they have not been contacted by the GAO. The three contract feeders are believed to be the nation’s largest providers of school foodservice.

The GAO is the main investigative arm of Congress.

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