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ID NEWS: USF issues said to surface following supplier dispute

U.S. Foodservice (USF) auditor Deloitte & Touche became aware of "potential accounting problems" at the $17.5-billion broadliner after at least two suppliers disputed rebate figures, according to the latest Washington Post update.

USF is struggling to rectify problems resulting from the discovery several weeks ago of accounting irregularities involving more than $500 million in promo monies. The Post cites a source as saying that USF CEO Jim Miller was the first to inform the distributor's Netherlands-based Royal Ahold parent of the accounting problems.

The issue has sparked investigations by the U.S. Attorney's Office in New York, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and Ahold, which has hired its own law firm to conduct an internal investigation, the Post says.

The Columbia, MD-based broadliner, for its part, points out that supplier rebate programs were "constantly reviewed" by internal and outside auditors, and as many as 10 Deloitte auditors worked at USF, as also reported by the Post. USF recently expressed disappointment in the performance of the auditor, in a letter to customers (ID Management Report, March 13, 2003).

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