USDA Foods Distribution
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The Bureau of Nutrition and Health Services is responsible for the distribution of USDA Foods to participants in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). Participants in NSLP include public and non-public schools as well as residential child care institutions (RCCIs).
Keep up to date on USDA Foods food safety concerns. 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. For general food safety information visit: http://www.foodsafety.gov/
School Program participants are notified of USDA Foods Product alerts and recalls through an e-mail system (the School Food Authority is responsible for keeping their emergency contact e-mail address on file with the Bureau current) and posting to the Bureau web site.
For the most current list of unsafe, hazardous or defective products, six federal agencies with vastly different jurisdictions have joined together to create www.recalls.gov - A "one stop shop" for U.S. Government recalls.
No Alerts on USDA Foods at this time.
USDA Foods Nutritional Information
For nutrition information on the direct distribution products: USDA Foods Product Information Sheets
For nutrition information on the Diverted Foods (DF) processed items, some of which are offered on the 6 yearly DD orders please email IowaUSDAFoods@iowa.gov to receive a pdf copy. A limited number of printed books are distributed every year at the USDA Foods, Food Show and the SNAI annual conference. If printed copies are available, you may request a copy at the email address above.
One of the functions of the Bureau of Nutrition and Health Services is to distribute USDA Foods products to participants in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). Participants include public school districts, private school districts, and residential child care institutions (RCCIs). There are six distributions per school year and are ordered A through F.
Ordering of USDA Foods is available online through the Iowa USDA Foods System. Emails are sent out to the Commodity Club email list when orders are available on the web. Delivery and warehousing of USDA foods is currently provided by Keck Inc. If you have questions for Keck you can contact Jorge Harwood at 515-244-5631x121.
USDA Food Values
USDA Food values will reflect the actual purchase price of the product by USDA. Consequently, because we receive multiple truckloads per year, the value of some products may change from one distribution to the next.
Diverted Foods (DF) is an additional way to spend your Planned Assistance Level (PAL). The State Agency along with the Advisory Council, have procured the processing services of USDA Foods for the State of Iowa. Annually SFAs request pounds of USDA Foods such as chicken, turkey, beef, cheese and pork to be diverted to selected processors on their behalf. SFAs can then purchase specified end product from their commercial distributors and receive price discounts (net price, rebates, etc) at time of purchase.
For those SFAs electing to receive their Diverted Foods via a commercial distributor, distribution services must still be procured. Below is some sample bid language and a product template that can be inserted into your bid document.
DoD (Department of Defense) Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program
The DoD Fresh Fruit and Vegetable program is an optional way for SFAs to spend their PAL budget every year. Dollars allocated can be used to purchase, domestically grown fresh fruits and vegetables weekly. Sign up for the DoD program is in the spring of the previous school year.
The USDA Foods Advisory Council serves to assist the State Agency in decisions regarding USDA Foods. The main function of the council is to determine what bulk USDA Foods and end products will be procured for the Diverted Foods program. Council members participate in the specification writing, reviewing solicitation documents, and evaluation of proposals and bids. As well council members learn more about the USDA Foods program and provide feedback and guidance for the State Agency.
Current Council Members
If you are interested in serving on the USDA Foods Advisory Council, please fill out the interest form to submit to Bureau.
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.
Publications and Reports
USDA Foods Complaint Procedure
When a problem is discovered with a USDA Food, a complaint form must be filled out and submitted as soon as possible. Please isolate and hold onto any affected product until the complaint has been reported. Please use the following form to report your complaint.
DD Receiving Procedure
When you receive one of your six yearly DD orders please make sure to check in your order and verify you have received everything you should have. Have the driver make adjustments on the warehouse release and sign. You should keep a copy. If there are any discrepancies or damages in your delivery please complete the following form to report those to the State Agency.
Schools that store USDA Foods at a non-SFA owned facility must complete an annual review. Schools will be asked to report the date of review to the state agency. A sample Storage Facility Review Form can be found under download forms on IowaCNP.
USDA Foods Recipes
If your school has a standardized recipe using USDA Foods, please share it with us!
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.
USDA Foods Recipes - Chef Deanna Olson worked with the USDA Foods Advisory Council to develop and standardize ten new recipes for schools utilizing USDA Foods, as part of a Team Nutrition grant.