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). If you have questions about USDA Foods or food distribution contact Sarah White at 515-281-4032.
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/
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 Education Portal (https://portal.ed.iowa.gov/iowalandingpage/Landing.aspx). 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 515-2445631 x121.
USDA Food Values
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 use to determine what they have used in the food program each year.
USDA Foods State Processing
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 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 on the six yearly USDA Foods orders. 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, mozzarella and cheddar cheese, 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.
Nutrition Information for State Processed Items
Bean and Cheese Burrito
Beef Tips, Seasoned
Cheddar Cheese Sauce
Cheese Stuffed Breadsticks, WG
Chicken Nuggets, WG
Chicken Patty, Breaded, WG
Chicken Patty, Lightly, WG
French Toast Sticks, WG
Macaroni and Cheese A1
Macaroni and Cheese A2
Macaroni and Cheese
Mandarin Orange Chicken, WG
Peanut Butter A1
Peanut Butter and Grape Jelly on WG Bread
Peanut Butter and Strawberry Jelly on WG Bread
Popcorn Chicken, WG
Pork Sausage Patty
Pork Steak, Breaded
Red Gold A1
Salsa Portion Cup
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.
Download the excel file, “Iowa SY 2015 NOI Request Form” to see the available processors. Complete and return this form by February 28th, 2014 to Jill Stuecker (email@example.com). The file “Instructions for NOI” provides information for completing your request form.
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”.
The USDA Foods Advisory Council serves to assist the State Agency in decisions regarding USDA Foods. One of the council’s functions is to determine what bulk USDA Foods will be processed for the state processed items available on the six yearly orders. Council members participate in the bidding and scoring for these products. As well council members learn more about the USDA Foods program and help 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 and return to Sarah White or fax # 515-242-5988.
USDA Foods Advisory Council Interest Form
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
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.
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.
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. Have the driver make adjustments on the warehouse release and sign. You should keep a copy. If you receive too little or too many USDA Foods or some are damaged please fill out the following form. The form can be emailed, faxed, or mailed. Address is available on the form.
USDA Foods Recipes
If your school has a standardized recipe using USDA Foods, please mail to Jill Stuecker, so that we can share it with other districts in Iowa.
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 .