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High-Security Seal Requirements for USDA Foods

Nutrition Services Division Management Bulletin

Purpose: Policy, Beneficial Information

To: Commodity Supplemental Food Program Local Agencies

Number: USDA-CSFP-02-2013

Attention: Commodity Supplemental Food Program Administrator

Date: August 2013

Subject: High-Security Seal Requirements for Receiving U.S. Department of Agriculture Foods in the Commodity Supplemental Food Program

Reference: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Marketing Service, Commodity Procurement Staff, Notice to the Trade, dated February 14, 2013; Master Solicitation for Commodity Procurements, dated April 2012  

This Management Bulletin (MB) notifies Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) Local Agencies (LA) of the requirement for all U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foods shipments to have high-security seals in place upon delivery. In addition, the MB provides guidance on handling USDA Foods shipments when the high-security seal is missing or when the seal’s security code differs from the security code listed on the Bill of Lading (BOL). High-security seals safeguard the integrity of USDA Foods supplied to CSFP LAs.

The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) issued a “Notice to the Trade” outlining the requirements for high-security seals. A copy of this notification can be found on the AMS Commodity Purchasing Notices and Press Releases Web page at

Vendor Responsibilities

It is the responsibility of the vendor/contractor (vendor) to safeguard the integrity of USDA Foods at all times. The following outlines the requirements for high-security seals:

  • All truckloads (TL) and partial truckloads must be secured at all times, prior to unloading, with tamper resistant, serially numbered, high-security seals.
  • Vendors are responsible for placing seal(s) on all trailer/railcar doors after USDA Foods are loaded.
  • Seals shall be serially numbered, barrier-type and meet the American Society for Testing and Materials standards.
  • The vendor must maintain a record of each Identification Seal Number (ISN) used per delivery.
  • The vendor must ensure that the applicable ISN is on each BOL, shipment manifest, certificate, and delivery document for each delivery destination. It is the responsibility of the vendor to provide a sufficient number of seals to ensure that the trailer is sealed after each delivery destination.
  • The vendor is responsible for re-sealing and recording the ISN of all TLs intended for multiple recipients.

Note: Failure to seal the trailer/railcar after each delivery destination may result in rejection of the shipment by the LA.

Receiving USDA Foods Shipments

When a USDA Foods shipment arrives, the LA should review the receiving documents to ensure the destination, item code, and quantity of the USDA Foods shipment is correct. Once that information is verified, the LA should verify that the high-security seal ISN matches the ISN listed on the BOL.

In the event that a shipment arrives without a proper high-security seal in place, we recommend completing the following steps:

  1. Visually inspect the shipment to determine the integrity of the products shipped. If you determine the shipment is acceptable, you can receive the truck and unload. No further action is necessary.

  2. If you determine that the shipment has been compromised, immediately notify one of the California Department of Education (CDE) CSFP Coordinators by phone or by e-mail. Include the following information on the BOL to reject the TL:

    1. Note the “Nonexistence of the Required High-security Seal”
    2. List the date, time, and name of the person rejecting the TL

Send electronic copies of the BOL to your CSFP Coordinator. You do not need to enter any information into the USDA’s Web-Based Supply Chain Management database system, the CSFP Coordinator will work with you and the USDA to schedule a replacement TL.

If unable to contact the CSFP Coordinator, the LA can reject the shipment without pre-approval from the CDE or the AMS. LAs may choose to reject a shipment solely on the absence of the seal.

If you have any questions regarding this MB, please contact Irene Boubalos, Program Consultant, by phone at 916-229-3343 or by e-mail at

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Wednesday, February 15, 2017
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