GAO Investigates Retail Trade

Published online: Jan 10, 2000
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Following a formal request from the Senate Small Business Committee, the General Accounting Office has launched an investigation into retail trade practices and business relationships between suppliers and retailers in all sectors of the food industry.

The Jan. 7 announcement made by the United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association, stated that United President Tom Stenzel and Vice President Robert Guenther met with three GAO investigators who will work on the project.

They will examine prevalence, types, and amounts of slotting fees required, how fees are accounted for by both buyers and sellers, and the typical processes used for requesting or offering fees.

The GAO plans to meet with a variety of companies and individuals within the food industry to gather specific data on trade practices.

Stenzel said there are some cases in the marketplace where there is abuse. GAO does not have authority to audit private companies' records but anticipates that suppliers and retailers will want to cooperate with the efforts, Guenther said.