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Information Alert--Fruits and Grain


Nutrition Services Division

Program: Food Distribution Program

Date: March 2005

To: Food Distribution Program Recipient Agencies

Attention: Food Program (or Service) Director
Subject: Storage and Handing of U.S. Department of Agriculture Commodity Dried Fruits and Grain Products

This Information Alert serves as a reminder regarding the storage and handling of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foods dried fruits, fruit/nut trail mix, grains, and grain products.

The above items should be stored in a cool dry place. The ideal temperature is 50°F and the relative humidity is between 50 and 70 percent. Dry storage warehouses often do not meet these conditions. Therefore, USDA recommends that dried fruit and grain products be stored under refrigeration.

It is every recipient agency's responsibility to store and handle all commodities properly. The most effective way to avoid product quality deterioration is to only order quantities of commodities that can be used quickly.

Background

USDA has received several complaints about dried fruit and grain products that have become infested in storage. In each instance, it was determined that the product was in storage for an excessive amount of time under less than recommended storage conditions.

Dried fruit and grain products have a short shelf life, unlike frozen and canned products that may be stored for a more extended period of time. Dried fruit products such as raisins, date pieces, fruit and nut trail mix, dried beans, and grain products such as rice flour, and pasta products are susceptible to insect infestation when they are not stored under proper temperatures and/or they are stored for extended periods of time. The potential for infestation increases considerably when these products are stored under relatively warm, humid conditions, which are prevalent in many dry storage warehouses from late spring into fall.

For further information regarding commodity storage, please visit the USDA Web site at http://www.fns.usda.gov/sites/default/files/HandlingDriedFruits-Trailmix.pdf.

If you have any questions or are unable to access the information on the Web site, please contact Amy Bell, Child Nutrition Consultant, at 916-322-5051, 800-952-5609, or abell@cde.ca.gov.

Questions: Amy Bell | abell@cde.ca.gov | 800-952-5609 
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