USDA OIG: AMS Procurement and Inspection of Fruits and Vegetables
The mission of the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is to facilitate the competitive and efficient marketing of domestic agricultural products. To accomplish the AMS mission, the Commodity Procurement Staff (CPS) purchases fruits, vegetables, meat, poultry, eggs, and fish from farmers and companies located in the United States. The products acquired are furnished to Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to meet the needs of the Child Nutrition Programs and other domestic nutrition assistance programs.
During FYs 2011-2013,8 the CPS did not close out 1,190 of the 2,303 completed fruit and vegetable contracts within 6 months of receiving evidence of receipt of goods and final payment as required. As a result, completed contracts involving over $9.7 million in excess funds from the Fruits and Vegetables Program and over $9.9 million in excess funds from the Livestock, Poultry and Seed Program, were not closed out and excess funds were not de-obligated in a timely manner.9 This prevented the $19.6 million in excess funds from being directed to other uses.
For FYs 2013 and 2014, AMS could not provide assurance that commodities for 29 of 97 sampled purchase orders were of domestic origin.16 This occurred because AMS had not obtained sufficient documentation, such as growers’ list and scale tickets, to verify product origin. As a result, almost $35 million of commodities purchased for USDA programs may not have been obtained in accordance with the Buy American Act. Report.