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Procurement in Child Nutrition Programs

Federal and state information for the procurement of food service related goods and services across all federally funded child nutrition programs and the USDA Foods Program.
Important Notice: CACFP Program Moved to CDSS

The Early Childhood Development Act of 2020 (Senate Bill (SB) 98, Chapter 24, Statutes of 2020) authorized the transfer of child care and development programs administered by the California Department of Education to the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) effective July 1, 2021. The content on this page may not be current and involves the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) that has moved to CDSS. Visit the CDSS CACFP web page External link opens in new window or tab. or call 1-833-559-2420 for more information.

Introduction

This web page provides procurement information for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Child Nutrition Programs (CNP) administered by the California Department of Education (CDE), including the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), and the Food Distribution Program (FDP). Procurement requirements apply to all agencies that participate in the CNPs. The CDE is committed to providing ongoing guidance to support CNP agencies with the proper procurement of goods and services, and encourages all CNP agencies to routinely review and use the resources on both this web page and the Procurement in School Nutrition Programs (SNP) web page.

Background

The federal government, in an attempt to streamline the administration of federal grants, consolidated several federal regulatory sections into Title 2, Code of Federal Regulations (2 CFR), Part 200 (Super Circular). The Super Circular replaces existing rules in Title 7, Code of Federal Regulations (7 CFR), parts 3015, 3016, 3019, and 3052; and in 2 CFR, parts 215, 220, 225, and 230 (Office of Management and Budget Circulars A-133, A-21, A-87, and A-122, respectively). CNP operators can access the Super Circular on the U.S. Government Publishing Office Electronic Code of Federal Regulations Part 200 web page External link opens in new window or tab..

The procurement standards in the Super Circular became effective for the NSLP, CACFP, SFSP, and FDP on October 1, 2015.

Overview

Procurement is defined as a multistep process for obtaining goods and services at the lowest possible price. The steps in this process include planning, writing specifications, announcing/advertising the procurement, awarding a contract, and managing the contract. Procurement standards for the CNPs are located in 2 CFR, sections 200.318–200.326 and 7 CFR, parts 210, 225, 226, and 250 (as applicable). At a minimum, the regulations require CNP participating districts and agencies to:

  • Conduct procurements in a manner that promotes full and open competition

  • Develop and maintain a written standard (or code) of conduct that covers conflicts of interest, including organizational conflicts of interest, and governs the performance of employees engaged in the selection, award, and administration of contracts

  • Develop and maintain written procurement procedures designed to avoid the acquisition of unnecessary or duplicative items

Frequently Asked Questions

(Please check frequently for updates.)

  • Procurement in CNPs Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) (Updated Mar-2018)
    This CDE web page provides answers to FAQs regarding procurement in CNPs. It is meant to aid CNP operators with understanding the requirements surrounding the procurement of goods and services using federal funds. If you are unable to find the answer to your question, please contact the Office Technician from the appropriate program listed in the Contact Information section.

Federal Regulations and California State Laws*

*Not an inclusive list of federal regulations and California state laws.

Resources

The resources listed below provide procurement guidance to CNP districts and agencies.

  • CDE Code of Conduct and Procurement Procedures Checklist (DOCX; Updated April 2019)
    Provides agencies with the basic components required in these federally required documents.

  • Procuring Local Foods External link opens in new window or tab.
    This USDA web page contains a guide, decision tree, policies, resources, and the Finding, Buying, and Serving Local Foods webinar series, including geographic preference, to help ensure that agencies have the resources and knowledge necessary to incorporate local foods into their day-to-day operations.

  • CDE Farm to Child Nutrition Programs web page
    CDE provides technical assistance, training, and resources to support the U.S. Department of Agriculture Child Nutrition Programs to incorporate a farm to school program into their existing food service operation.

  • California Department of Food and Agriculture Farmers Marketplace External link opens in new window or tab.
    The California Farmer Marketplace is a free statewide website featuring California produce, grains, meats, and other products for sale. The Marketplace offers farmers the opportunity to post products and connect directly with school food service to increase the amount of California grown and produced foods on school lunch trays. Primarily established to reduce communication barriers between buyers and sellers, the website is free and open to the general public, including ranchers, producers, distributors, institutional buyers, community groups, and individual consumers.

  • USDA Fact Sheet - Selling Local Food to SchoolsExternal link opens in new window or tab. (PDF)

    This USDA fact sheet is a resource for farmers, ranchers, fisherman, food processors, bakers, or other food producers on how to provide and sell food to schools and educate students about food and agriculture.

  • Community Food Systems - Food Safety FAQs External link opens in new window or tab.
    This USDA FAQ page answers common questions about the important food safety tips that schools should follow when working with food from local farmers. This page also answers questions about and provides resources for general food safety, school garden produce, and USDA fruit and vegetable inspections.

School Nutrition Programs

Child and Adult Care Food Program

Summer Food Service Program

Cafeteria Fund

  • Cafeteria Fund Guidance
    This CDE web page provides information about the cafeteria fund, a restricted account that SNP agencies may use only for the operation and improvement of the nonprofit school food service.

Contact Information

If you have any questions regarding this subject, please contact your Program Specialist. A list of Program Specialists is available in the Download Forms section of the Child Nutrition Information and Payment System External link opens in new window or tab.. You can also contact the following program support staff for assistance:

You can also contact the Nutrition Services Division by phone at 800-952-5609.

Follow @CDENutrition on Twitter.

Questions:   Procurement Resources Unit | NSDProcurementReview@cde.ca.gov | 916-322-8323
Last Reviewed: Thursday, June 10, 2021
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