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USDA Foods Processing Program

Information regarding processing United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foods into more usable end products.

Processing Information

Processing of USDA Foods allows schools to send items to approved processors. Schools have reported that the ability to send certain USDA Foods to processors, allows them to offer more menu items that meet the preferences of their students, provides a greater variety of food choices, reduces waste, and stabilizes food costs through portion control.

Processors must be approved by the California Department of Education (CDE) or the USDA, and must meet specific requirements. Processors are  regularly reviewed by the CDE or the USDA.

Processors are required to have an approved agreement on file with the CDE in order to participate in the program. The agreement includes end product data schedules, a list of end products available, and nutrition and labeling information.

Schools sending USDA Foods to an approved processor must have a properly procured contract in place with the processor and/or distributor prior to receiving any end products containing USDA Foods as outlined in Management Bulletin FDP-04-2018 USDA Final Rule Regarding Revisions and Clarifications in Requirements for the Processing of Donated Foods. Additionally, Title 7Code of Federal Regulations, Section 250.31(b) External link opens in new window or tab. mandates all applicable procurement documents must include: (1) the price to be charged for the end product or other processing service, (2) the method of end product sales that will be utilized and assurance that crediting for USDA Foods will be completed per applicable requirements, (3) the value of USDA Foods in the end products, and (4) the location for the delivery of the end products.

2023–24 Approved Processor Listing (XLSX)
Processors approved to process USDA Foods.

USDA Foods Processors’ Consultant Assignments

Food Distribution Program General Information Sheets
Information to assist processors with program compliance.

Management Bulletins
Food Distribution Program management bulletins organized by calendar year.

USDA Foods Processing Information External link opens in new window or tab.
Information on processing USDA Foods

Questions:   Food Distribution Program | 916-324-7132
Last Reviewed: Thursday, May 2, 2024
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