Skip to main content
California Department of Education Logo

FNS 709-5, Rev. 4: Shipment & Receipt of USDA Food

This management bulletin outlines the updates to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service Instruction 709-5, Revision 4: Shipment and Receipt of USDA Foods.

Nutrition Services Division Management Bulletin

Purpose: Policy, Beneficial Information

To: Food Distribution Program Recipient Agencies and U.S. Department of Agriculture Foods Processors

Attention: Program Operators

Number: FDP-04-2024

Date: June 2024

Reference: USDA Policy Memorandum Instruction 709-5 Rev 4: Shipment and Receipt of USDA Foods

Supersedes: Management Bulletin FDP-02-2019, Food and Nutrition Service Instruction 709-5, Revision 3: Shipment and Receipt of U.S. Department of Agriculture Foods

Subject: Food and Nutrition Service Instruction 709-5, Revision 4: Shipment and Receipt of U.S. Department of Agriculture Foods

This management bulletin notifies agencies participating in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National School Lunch Program that on April 5, 2024, the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) and the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) jointly issued a revision (rev.) of FNS Instruction 709-5, Shipment and Receipt of USDA Foods, Rev. 4 regarding shipment and receipt of USDA Foods. The document provides instruction in the areas of:

  • Arranging for shipment and delivery
  • Inspecting shipments
  • Accepting and refusing shipments
  • Receipting for the shipment
  • Unloading the shipment
  • Depositing and replacing out-of-condition USDA Foods

The Instruction can be viewed on the USDA Food Distribution Program Instructions and Handbooks web page at

Key Updates

The California Department of Education Food Distribution Program strongly encourages all stakeholders to read the published instruction in its entirety. The following are select highlights of the revised updates:

    • Updated definitions for refused shipment request and rejected shipment
  • Section VIII: Arranging for Shipment and Delivery
    • Expanded guidance on shipment scheduling and arranging for Shipment and Delivery
    • Outlines the expectation that all trucks for large orders are to be received on their specified delivery date
    • Provides expanded guidance on handling deliveries when a carrier does not make a delivery appointment
    • Removed the requirement for a minimum of 72 hours notice that the vendor or carrier must arrange for a delivery appointment
  • Section IX: Inspecting the Shipment
  • Allows the consignee to refuse a shipment from a vendor outright if the security seal is broken or missing, or if the serial number on the seal does not match the number on supporting documentation, such as Bill of Lading (BOL), without seeking approval from the Contracting Officer (e.g., AMS’s Commodity Procurement Program)
  • Requires that a Contracting Officer must be informed of the rejection and a complaint must be entered into the web-based supply chain management system, or WBSCM
  • Section X: Accepting  or Refusing a Shipment
    • Identifies parameters for refusal of a shipment originating from a vendor when out-of-condition USDA Foods, such as those that are spoiled, damaged or out of date, are discovered and the Contracting Officer does not respond with a consignee-requested resolution within 2 hours of Contracting Officer receipt of all required documentation
    • Required documentation includes the BOL – including item codes and descriptions – and quantity of product(s) in question, photograph or video of the product exhibiting the concerns, photographs of the product label(s), and temperature readings when applicable
  • Section XI: Receipting for the Shipment.
    • Shifts the timeframe for consignee entry of the Goods Receipts into the Web Based Supply Chain Management system from within 2 calendar days of receipt of the product to 2 business days
    • Allows for greater flexibility on entry during weekends and holidays

AMS and FNS are committed to ongoing improvement of the Instruction and ensuring it meets the needs of USDA Foods program partners. USDA welcomes comments on how to further improve support and operations. They have established a dedicated email to accept comments:

Contact Information

If you have any questions regarding this subject, please contact the Food Distribution Program by email at

Kim Frinzell, Director

Nutrition Services Division

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Friday, June 21, 2024
Related Content
Recently Posted in Nutrition