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Offering RAs the Required USDA Foods

Nutrition Services Division Management Bulletin
Purpose: Beneficial Information

To: Food Distribution Program Recipient Agencies

Number: USDA-FDP-01-2013

Attention: Food Service Directors

Date: January 2013

Subject: Offering School Food Authorities the Required Value and Variety of U.S. Department of Agriculture Foods, and Efficient and Cost Effective Distribution

Reference: U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service Policy Memo FD-125

This Management Bulletin (MB) shares U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) guidance for states with recipient agencies (RA) to ensure that all RAs receive their planned assistance level and maximize their use of USDA Foods to meet nutrition standards in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP).

All states must offer to RAs, to the extent practical, the full variety of USDA Foods that the USDA makes available for the NSLP. In accordance with Title 7, Code of Federal Regulations (7 CFR), Section 250.14(a), states must use the most efficient and cost-effective distribution system for providing USDA Foods to RAs.

Request-driven Ordering of USDA Foods

States must use a request-driven ordering system that permits RAs to receive, to the extent practical, USDA Foods that best meet the needs of their school food service operation. Such a request-driven ordering system must include the following elements:

Efficient and Cost-effective Distribution of USDA Foods

In order to ensure that USDA Foods are distributed to RAs in the most efficient and cost-effective manner, states must take the following actions:

USDA Foods and the Nutrition Standards in the NSLP

In accordance with the final rule published in the Federal Register on January 26, 2012, "Nutrition Standards in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs", RAs must make more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains available, and meet other revised nutrition standards, in the school meals. USDA Foods play an important role in helping RAs to meet the nutritional standards for school lunches and to moderate the cost of providing such meals. USDA Foods available for use in the NSLP include a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, whole-grain, low-fat, and low-sodium foods.

The Food Distribution Program is committed to offering RAs the full variety of USDA Foods and allowing RAs to choose the most efficient and cost-effective ordering and distribution option for receiving USDA Foods.

Contact Information

If you have any questions regarding this MB, please contact Amy Bell, Child Nutrition Consultant, by phone at 916-322-5051 or 800-952-5609, or by e-mail at; or Sherry Tam, Child Nutrition Consultant, by phone at 916-324-9875 or 800-952-5609, or by e-mail at

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
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