Skip to main content
California Department of Education Logo

USDA Commodity Complaints


Nutrition Services Division Management Bulletin

To: Food Distribution Program Recipient Agencies

Number: 04-405

Attention: Food Program (or Service) Director

Date: December 2004

Subject: United States Department of Agriculture Commodity Complaints

Reference: Management Bulletin 96-400, Management Bulletin 00-400, and Management Bulletin 01-411

This Management Bulletin provides revised complaint procedures for United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) commodities.

Effective school year 2004–2005, USDA is changing its protocol for managing commodity complaints. USDA is now requiring that all commodity complaints be submitted to the state.

The USDA has begun transitioning to a new Commodity Complaint database within its Electronic Commodity Ordering System (ECOS) and is expecting this new system to be operational early next year. Eventually, states will be able to enter their complaints about USDA donated commodities directly into ECOS. This will be a significant improvement in USDA's ability to track and respond to complaints about commodities in a timely manner.

Although USDA makes every effort to ensure that commodities provided through the Food Distribution Program are nutritious and of the highest quality, recipients may encounter a problem from time to time. When a problem involves the quality of the product, foreign material in a product, poor packaging of a product, or cooking or preparation issues, recipients should file a complaint. However, if a product is more than six months old, USDA will probably not be able to replace the product, because the vendor will no longer have a contract with them. Additionally, USDA has indicated that unless there is a significant quantity of product involved with the complaint, entitlement credit or product replacement may not occur.

It is important to file commodity complaints because they can lead to specification improvements, can help monitor vendor performance, and can help indicate possible trends.

Please contact your assigned commodity consultant to report a USDA commodity complaint. Additionally, the attached USDA Commodity Complaint Form [Note: name has been changed to USDA Foods Complaint Form] will expedite the reporting of commodity complaints. The form is available electronically at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/nu/fd/forms.asp and should be submitted to your assigned commodity consultant.

Please share this information with your district/agency management and business personnel, as appropriate. If you have any questions, please contact Amy Bell, at 916-322-5051 or 800-952-5609, or abell@cde.ca.gov.

Attachment

USDA Commodity Complaint Form and Instructions [Note: name has been changed to USDA Foods Complaint Form and Instructions] at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/nu/fd/documents/commoditycomplaint.pdf.

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, March 5, 2024
Related Content
Recently Posted in Nutrition
  • Extended: CNAC Student Recruitment (added 14-May-2024)
    The Child Nutrition Advisory Council (CNAC) is accepting student member applications through May 21, 2024.
  • Local Agency Procurement Review List of Operators (added 10-May-2024)
    Program operators scheduled for the School Year 2024-25 off-site local agency procurement review.
  • SFSP Application Deadline is May 15 (added 09-May-2024)
    The California Department of Education (CDE) Nutrition Services Division would like to remind you that your summer meal application packets for the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) are due May 15.
  • USDA Final Rule: School Meal Standards (added 07-May-2024)
    This information announces the release of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Final Rule for Child Nutrition Programs: Meal Patterns Consistent with the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
  • CNAC Student Member Recruitment Reminder (added 07-May-2024)
    The California Department of Education is currently recruiting applicants for the Child Nutrition Advisory Council (CNAC) student member position.

  • Cargill Meat Solutions Recalls Ground Beef Product (added 03-May-2024)
    Cargill Meat Solutions Recalls Ground Beef Products due to possible E. coli O157:H7 contamination.
  • Summer Meals: Rural Non-congregate Meal Service (added 03-May-2024)
    This management bulletin provides guidance on rural non-congregate meal service options in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and Seamless Summer Option (SSO), collectively referred to as the Summer Meal Programs (SMP).
  • Summer EBT 2024 Benefit Issuance Timeline Update (added 03-May-2024)
    This communication provides additional information for school food authorities (SFA) about the 2024 Summer EBT (S-EBT) benefit issuance timeline and provides valuable resources SFAs may use when communicating with households.
  • CNAC Student Member Recruitment (added 03-May-2024)
    The State Superintendent of Public Instruction (SSPI) Child Nutrition Advisory Council (CNAC) is currently accepting applications for the student member position.
  • Non-congregate Meal Service Options in Rural Areas (added 29-Apr-2024)
    This management bulletin provides guidance on non-congregate meal service options in rural areas in the Summer Food Service Program and Seamless Summer Option.