Food Distribution

Schools/USDA Foods Programs - FAQs

Last Modified: 04/11/2014

1. How does USDA support meal service in Schools/Child Nutrition Programs (CNP)? 

2. What type of USDA Food support does USDA give the school lunch program?

3. What type of USDA Food support does USDA give to Other Child Nutrition Programs?

4. What types of food are available to States for Schools/Child Nutrition USDA Food Programs?

5. Who should I contact for more information about Schools/Child Nutrition USDA Food Programs?

Answers

1. How does USDA support meal service in Schools/Child Nutrition Programs (CNP)? The USDA's Schools/Child Nutrition USDA Food Programs support domestic nutrition programs and American agricultural producers through purchases of domestic agricultural products for use in schools and institutions. Nutritious USDA-purchased food is provided to the following nutrition programs:

  • National School Lunch Program;
  • Child and Adult Care Food Program;
  • Summer Food Service Program; and the
  • School Breakfast Program

2. What type of USDA Food support does USDA give the school lunch program? In school year 2013, schools participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) will receive USDA Foods, called "entitlement" foods, at a value of 22.75 cents for each lunch served.  Schools can also get "bonus" USDA Foods, as they are available through USDA’s price support and surplus removal programs. * While there is no entitlement for USDA Foods in the School Breakfast Program, NSLP USDA Foods may be served in the School Breakfast Program.

The Food Distribution Division of USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) coordinates the distribution of USDA Foods to states in support of approximately 100,000 public and private nonprofit schools that provide meals to students. The entitlement amount varies from year to year based on an annual adjustment which reflects changes in the Price Index of Foods used in Schools and Institutions. Benefits delivered in past years are listed below:

NSLP Entitlement & USDA Food Benefits Delivered  

Year

Cents per meal

$ Value(millions)

Pounds(millions)

SY 12* 22.25 $1,171 1,166
SY 11 20.25 $1,065 1,290
SY 10 19.50 $844 1,091
SY 09 20.75 $972 980 
SY 08  18.75 $1,067 1,209
SY 07 17.00 $919 1,183
* Preliminary

3. What type of USDA Food support does USDA give to Other Child Nutrition Programs?

  • Child and Adult Care Food Program:  FNS’s Food Distribution Division distributes USDA Foods to ensure that children and adults in approved day care centers receive nutritious meals and snacks.  Institutions have the option of receiving USDA Foods or cash in lieu for the CACFP. Approximately 20 percent of childcare centers currently request USDA Foods. The level of assistance for lunches and suppers served by CACFP is the same as the rate for school lunches—i.e., 22.75 cents per meal.

  • Summer Food Service Program: FNS distributes USDA Foods to SFSP sites serving needy children during summer vacations from school. These sites include schools, colleges and universities participating in the National Youth Sports Program, nonprofit summer camps, and centers for homeless children to name a few. For meals prepared on-site, providers receive 1.5 cents per meal in USDA food entitlement. USDA Foods ordered for the NSLP may also be used in the SFSP.

4. What types of food are available to States for Schools/ Child Nutrition USDA Food Programs? States select a wide variety of USDA Foods for their schools, child and adult care centers, family day care centers, and summer program sites from a list of more than 180 various products.

Foods Available in SY 2014 for the Schools/Child Nutrition Commodity Programs include fruits and vegetables; meats; cheese; dry and canned beans; fruit juices; vegetable shortening and oils; peanut products; rice, cheese, pasta products, flour and other grain products.

5. Who should I contact for more information about Schools/Child Nutrition USDA Food Programs? USDA's Food Distribution Programs are coordinated by the USDA/FNS Food Distribution Division and administered at the State level by State distributing agencies (SDAs). Please contact your State distributing agency for more information about the USDA Foods distributed to schools and institutions participating in this program in your state. A list of the State Contacts may be found on our website at www.fns.usda.gov/fdd/contacts/sdacontacts.htm. You may also visit the Food Distribution Program website at: www.fns.usda.gov/fdd, or E-mail us at: fdd-psb@fns.usda.gov. You may email your USDA Food complaints to: CommodityComplaints@fns.usda.gov or visit the complaints website at: www.fns.usda.gov/fdd/complaints/.