USDA Foods Distribution
On this page...
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.
Product Information Sheets
2015-2016 State Processed Item Nutrition Information
For Nutrition information on the direct distribution USDA Foods Visit here
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 515-2445631 x121.
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.
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.
Diverted Foods (DF) is an additional way to spend your Planned Assistance Level (PAL). The State Agency sends truckloads of bulk raw product to multiple processors. Selected distributors sell a range of items from these processors to SFAs, SFAs receive price discounts (net price, rebates, etc) 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 diverted to processors on their behalf.
Download the excel file, “SY 16-17 DF Request Form” to see the available products. Complete and return this form by April 15th, 2016. The file “Instructions for DF” provides information for completing your request form.
Instructions for DF
SY 16-17 DF Request Form
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 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 to submit to Bureau.
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
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 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 by Chef Deanna Olson - 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.