The USDA Foods Distribution is an integral part of the Bureau of Nutrition Programs and Health Services web page. Several important commodity updates and information sheets are now available on the web. The ordering of USDA Foods via the Internet is now up and running. Iowa will be using two warehouses in the state for the storage of USDA Foods this year. They are Des Moines Cold Storage and Mason City Cold Storage. Keck, Inc. from Des Moines will be in charge of transporting USDA Foods to your school sites.
Official USDA Foods HOLDS and RECALLS will also be a part of the USDA Foods web site that will be available to you. Look for the link "USDA Foods Alerts" to be kept up-to-date.
FNS has made arrangements to allow users to self register for email notifications for potential USDA Foods food safety events. Click here to self-register for email alerts of potential food issues from the USDA.
The Iowa USDA Foods Advisory committee has selected a variety of items to help school meet the new meal pattern requirements. Use this handout when ordering USDA Foods and when planning your menus.
Using Iowa USDA Foods to Help You Meet the New Meal Pattern
USDA Foods Processing
One of the functions of the Bureau of Nutrition Programs and Health Services is to distribute USDA Foods products to Iowa's school system. One of the options Iowa has is to distribute a bulk food item to a processor who will then make it into a popular end product. For example, Iowa sends many truckloads of frozen bulk chicken to the Tyson Company and GoldKist. These two companies then will make chicken nuggets, chicken patties, and popcorn chicken. The finished product will then be sent to Iowa's warehouses where it can then be distributed to Iowa schools. All of the products that Iowa selects to process are approved by the Iowa USDA Foods Advisory Council. Other bulk products that Iowa currently processes; peanut butter, oil, Nonfat-Dry Milk, mozzarella cheese, and various fruits, along with bulk beef and pork. Once these products are approved by the council, a contract is signed between the processing company and the State of Iowa. These contracts are one-year renewable contracts up to five years.
PB Grape 2.8oz Uncrustable
PB Grape 5oz Uncrustable
PB Strawb 2.8oz Uncrustable
PB Straw 5oz Uncrustable
Seasoned Pork Chunks
WG Cheese Stuffed Breadsticks
WG Chicken Nuggets
WG Chicken Pattie
Bean and Cheese Burrito
Breaded Pork Steak
Cheddar Cheese Sauce
Macaroni and Cheese
Mandarin Orange Chicken
Mrs. Clarks Nutritionals
Net Off Invoice (NOI) is an additional way to use entitlement. The State Agency sends additional bulk truckloads of product to multiple processors. Selected distributors sell a range of items from these processors to SFAs at a net price (price after USDA Foods value is subtracted) plus any distribution fees. SFAs receive price discounts at time of purchase and get products delivered with their regular food order. Annually SFAs request pounds of USDA Foods product such as chicken, turkey, beef, cheese and pork to be allocated to them for NOI.
Calculators are excel files that will help you determine the number of pounds to request for NOI. Calculators have been combined by food type. Choose the material(s) you are interested in having processed for NOI and open the corresponding calculator.
DoD (Department of Defense) Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program
The DoD Fresh Fruit and Vegetable program is an optional way to use entitlement funds. Dollars allocated can be used to purchase domestically grown fresh fruits and vegetables as much as once per week. Approximately 30% of schools participate in this program. See “Frequently Asked DoD Questions,” located below, for more information. If you are new to the DoD Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program and need help getting started, see the “DoD Ordering Manual”.
USDA Foods values are determined annually by USDA. These are the average prices per pound for each product the USDA may purchase in a given year. They change for each school year. These are the values of the USDA foods that a school needs to keep in their inventory to determine what they have used in the food program each year. Schools may need both years of information to make comparisons on food values.
Publications and Reports
Commodity Club Newsletter
Be sure to check for latest USDA Foods Newsletter "Commodity Club Newsletter"
USDA Food Complaint Procedure
When a problem is discovered with a USDA Food Commodity, a complaint form must be filled out and submitted as soon as possible. Please use the form provided to report your complaint. You may mail, fax, or email the form. Instructions are provided with the form.
School's on-site review for their own program. This is done annually by each school and kept in the school files.
When you receive one of your six yearly State USDA Food orders please make sure to check in your order and verify you have received everything you should have. If you receive too little USDA Foods or too many, please fill out the following form. The form can be emailed, faxed, or mailed. Address is available on the form.
USDA Foods Recipes
The Bureau is especially interested in helping schools share recipes that utilize whole grains, legumes or help meet nutrient goals for the School Meals Initiative and compliance with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Here are some examples of USDA Foods recipes.
For more Recipes for Schools, click here .