Implementation of Section 191 of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1982

Gao ID: RCED-83-190 July 8, 1983

In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the implementation of a section of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1982 which recommends that Federal agencies take steps to distribute surplus food to hungry people and that State and local governments enact donor liability laws to encourage private cooperative efforts to provide food for the hungry as quickly as possible.

GAO found that, generally, agency officials were unaware of the provisions of the legislation. However, even before the enactment of the section, a number of Federal agencies had taken steps to distribute surplus food. Forty-six States have enacted donor liability laws that encourage private cooperative efforts to feed the hungry. Of the four States that do not have such legislation, one is considering it. GAO believes that the question of whether there is a need for updated estimates of food waste in the United States warrants further examination because such updated estimates could increase awareness of the food waste problem and, perhaps, result in identifying more ways in which the food needs of the poor might be met through the use of edible food that would otherwise be discarded.

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