The United States government's cutbacks are extending to muffins and cookies - fingered as part of "extravagant spending" by the Justice Department.
An internal audit by the department in Washington has found that it has spent excessive amounts of money on food and drink at conferences - such as muffins costing $US16 (nearly $20) each and cookies at $US10 ($12) each.
The audit found that more than $5000 had been spent on 250 muffins at an August 2009 legal conference at a hotel near the White House.
A department spokeswoman says that happened at a time when there were no strict limits on food and beverage spending.
The department says it accepts the findings, adding that it has taken steps since 2009 to "ensure that these problems do not occur again".
The US owes more than $US14 trillion and has an annual budget deficit topping $US1.4 trillion.