A new report to Congress says about 25 percent of the nation's grocery stores authorized to accept food stamps may be accepting them for forbidden items - such as beer and cigarettes - and cash.

The Agriculture Department's Office of Inspector General said most of the violations apparently involve small and medium-size establishments among the 220,000 stores nationwide that participate in the program."Supermarkets make up about 15 percent of the stores authorized to accept food stamps but handle about 74 percent of all food stamps redeemed," the report said. "Our studies have shown that these large retailers generally have adequate controls and systems in place to prevent program abuse."