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CSFP: Updated Guidance on Temporary Food Package Issuance

EO Guidance Document #
Resource type
Policy Memos
Resource materials
DATE: November 1, 2021
SUBJECT: CSFP: Updated Guidance on Temporary Food Package Issuance with Modified Quantities of Vegetables
TO: Regional Directors
Special Nutrition Programs
State Directors
CSFP State Agencies
All Current and New States


Temporary Guide Rate for Vegetable Issuance (Updated)

The Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) has been experiencing a vegetable product shortage since late 2020 due to ongoing issues with vendors’ ability to supply canned vegetables. To address this issue, FNS previously issued guidance on Feb. 26, 2021, which temporarily reduced the quantity of vegetables offered in the CSFP Maximum Monthly Distribution Rates, or Guide Rates, from 8 cans to 4 cans. National CSFP vegetable inventories have now recovered sufficiently for FNS to increase the quantity of vegetables offered in the CSFP Maximum Monthly Distribution Rates, or Guide Rates, from 4 cans to 6 cans, effective Nov. 1, 2021. Attachment A provides the updated Temporary Guide Rate for CSFP. FNS expects to return the distribution rate to the full 8 units at a later date, once CSFP vegetable inventories are sufficiently replenished to meet national program demand at this level.

To minimize program burden, any food packages that have already been pre-packed for November and December 2021 per the previous Guide Rate (effective February 26, 2021), may be distributed to CSFP participants without modification. However, food packages packed after the issuance of this memorandum must be packed according to the Distribution Rates in Attachment A.

Issuing Food Packages with Less Than Full Quantities

In accordance with FNS Instruction 835-1, Revision 2, “Authorized Supplemental Foods and Distribution Rates of Foods for CSFP,” items in the food package can be impacted by changing agricultural market conditions and some of the individual USDA Foods listed may be periodically unavailable. State tailoring of the CSFP food package to issue quantities of USDA Foods that are below the prescribed rates is permitted in very limited circumstances with prior FNS approval. States should closely monitor their CSFP food inventories and contact FNS Regional Offices immediately if they foresee an issue with making full food packages. FNS Regional Offices must in turn coordinate with the FNS National Office to obtain approval for states to issue modified food packages.

Additional CSFP Vegetable Purchases

To alleviate the canned vegetable shortage, FNS has been purchasing a variety of vegetable products not currently available in the CSFP package. In addition to the vegetable products normally offered in CSFP, there are temporarily different vegetable products available and vegetables available in different pack sizes. Attachment B includes guidance on how to distribute these temporary vegetable products.

We appreciate your understanding of this issue and your work to ensure CSFP participants continue to receive food assistance during this time. We will be sure to keep you apprised as we receive new information on the availability of canned vegetables.

Laura Castro
Food Distribution Division


Page updated: December 14, 2021

The contents of this guidance document do not have the force and effect of law and are not meant to bind the public in any way. This document is intended only to provide clarity to the public regarding existing requirements under the law or agency policies.