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Accounting for Unwanted/Refused Foods

Nutrition Services Division Management Bulletin

Purpose: Policy

To: Commodity Supplemental Food Program Local Agencies

Number: USDA-CSFP-07-2012

Attention: Commodity Supplemental Food Program Administrator

Date: June 2012

Subject: Accounting for Unwanted/Refused Foods in the Commodity Supplemental Food Program

Reference: Title 7, Code of Federal Regulations, Section 247.10

This Management Bulletin (MB) disseminates information and provides clarification on how to correctly account for unwanted/refused foods from participants in the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP).

Distribution and Use of CSFP Foods

Title 7, Code of Federal Regulations, Section 247.10 requires that the Local Agency (LA) distribute a package of foods to participants each month in accordance with the food package guide rates established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Nutrition Service (FNS).

The regulations do not prohibit unwanted food from food packages from being returned to the CSFP; nor do the regulations require that participants take an entire food package.

Reporting and Use of Unwanted CSFP Foods

In the event that a participant receives their monthly CSFP food box and refuses certain food items, the LA should be prepared to accept those food items. The Food Distribution Program recommends that the LA have containers available at all distribution sites to place unwanted/refused USDA Foods. Once the food is back at the LA’s warehouse, the inventory should be handled by selecting one of the two options listed below:

  1. Return the unwanted/refused USDA Foods back into the CSFP inventory for redistribution. The LA shall note the returned foods on the FNS 153 inventory report as an “adjustment positive.”
  2. Donate the unwanted USDA Foods to the LA’s emergency food pantry for redistribution outside of the CSFP.

Please ensure that the FNS 153 also reflects that a complete package was distributed, even if foods are refused.

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

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Thursday, March 30, 2017
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