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FNS Peer Review Agenda

Resource type
Research and Data
Research Plans
Resource Materials

As required under the Office of Management and Budget's "Final Information Quality Bulletin for Peer Review," released Dec. 16, 2004, the Food and Nutrition Service reviews its study and evaluation plans to determine whether any projects currently planned or underway meet the Bulletin's standards for "highly influential scientific assessments" or "influential scientific information."

The agency has concluded from its most recent review that is not currently preparing or sponsoring any "highly influential scientific assessments." The following projects are expected to yield “influential scientific information.” Peer review plans for these projects are linked below.

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Child Nutrition Programs

School Nutrition and Meal Cost Study-2

This comprehensive study, the next in a series, will examine the following: 1) food pattern and nutritional quality of the meals offered and purchased at school; 2) plate waste; 3) the school nutrition environment; 4) school food service operations; 5) cost to produce school meals, as well as 6) student participation; 7) characteristics of the school lunch and breakfast programs; and 8) satisfaction and attitudes regarding the school lunch and breakfast programs. Information on dietary intake and body mass index will be collected from a subsample of students. Primary data collection will occur by school year (SY) 2019-20 and will provide new information on implementation of the 2012 updated school meals nutrition standards, first assessed in SNMCS-1 during SY 2014-15. The study will include estimates of the cost to prepare school meals for the non-contiguous portions of the United States.

Study of Nutrition and Wellness Quality in Child Care Settings-2

The first study on Nutrition and Wellness Quality in Child Care Settings (SNACS) was awarded in 2015 to 1) assess nutrition and wellness policies/practices and meal quality for infants and children in Child and Adult Care Feeding Program (CACFP) child care settings; 2) describe food and nutrient intakes of infants and children in CACFP child care centers and outside of child care; 3) determine the meal costs and revenues in CACFP child care centers; and 4) describe and assess plate waste in CACFP child care centers. Data were collected before implementation of the updated CACFP meal standards. This project proposes an update of SNACS and the first data collection after implementation of the new nutrition standards for CACFP. Data collection would occur in school year (SY) 2021-22.

SNAP/NAP

Food Security Status and Well-Being of Nutrition Assistance Program Participants in Puerto Rico

This study will collect data on levels of household food security, health status, and well-being in the general population, and among NAP participants and low-income residents without such additional benefits and establish baseline contextual data on the system-wide factors that frame food security, health status, and well-being in Puerto Rico. This study will be complemented with in-depth interviews to understand better the household context of food security, health, and well-being for Puerto Rican residents following the advent of Hurricane Maria and other recent disasters, as well as the factors that contributed to their vulnerability and resiliency to catastrophic events.

Longitudinal Study of SNAP Households

This study will monitor how changes in SNAP policy and benefit levels affect SNAP households’ participation status, food purchases, and diet quality. The proposed study will use a longitudinal design, following a nationally representative sample of SNAP households to collect data annually regardless of their continued SNAP participation status. Data collection will include food security, food purchases, dietary intakes, awareness and utilization of SNAP-Ed and SNAP Employment and Training (E&T), use of online purchasing or mobile payment, satisfaction with the recertification process and reporting, employment status, and utilization of other nutrition assistance and support programs. Data collected in the first round will be used as a baseline for future Thrifty Food Plan reevaluations. FY 2023 funds will support development of a comprehensive sampling plan, development and pretesting of survey instruments, completion of all materials for Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval, and first round data collection, analysis, and reporting. Subsequent rounds of data collection will be funded with annually appropriated SNAP research funds.

  • Peer Review Plan (updated April 2024)
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Evaluating the Interview Requirement for SNAP Certification

During the Public Health Emergency (PHE), caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, SNAP state agencies had the option to seek a waiver of the interview with SNAP applicants at certification and/or SNAP participants at recertification. Many states may continue to waive the interview requirement for a time after the PHE ends. FNS released a study in 2015, “Assessment of the Contributions of an Interview to SNAP Eligibility and Benefit Determination,” that evaluated the elimination of both the certification and recertification interview in two states, Oregon, and Utah. The study found mixed results: interviews may improve application timeliness and the likelihood that applicants will report earnings but eliminating the interview may reduce error rates and churning. Since the prior study many changes have taken place in SNAP operations including interviews by contracted staff, video interviews, and data matching with employment databases. FNS seeks to revisit the role of the interview by conducting a larger set of demonstration projects and rigorously evaluating the impacts on client satisfaction, benefit accuracy, and administrative costs.

  • Peer Review Plan (updated April 2024)
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WIC

Participant Access to WIC Authorized Vendors

This study will seek to understand how WIC-authorized vendors are geographically distributed across state agencies and whether there are disparities in vendor distribution based on area demographics of U.S. Census tracts, existing measures of food access, and WIC selection and authorization criteria. The contractor shall explore and develop a research methodology to understand whether there are disparities in access to WIC-authorized vendors, primarily using mapping functions to visually display potential disparities in access.

  • Peer Review Plan (updated April 2024)
    • You will not be able to view this document in your internet browser. Please follow the instructions at the top of this page.

Other FNS Studies

"Ground Truthing" the Cost of the Thrifty Food Plan

This study will assess whether it is feasible to purchase food from retailers to prepare healthy meals that meet the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs), 2020-2025 with their SNAP allotments, which are a function of the Thrifty Food Plan (TFP) value. The feasibility of the TFP market baskets will be tested in both urban and rural areas in multiple regions of the contiguous 48 states by nutrition experts with a thorough understanding of the DGAs.

  • Peer Review Plan (updated April 2024)
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Alternative Approaches to Reevaluating the Thrifty Food Plan

This study will commission a contractor to convene an expert panel to identify alternative approaches to reevaluating the Thrifty Food Plan (TFP) while considering the congressionally required elements of current food prices, food composition data, consumption patterns, and dietary guidance. Identified alternative approaches may be operationalized by the contractor to determine how the alternatives could impact the value of the TFP as compared to the current optimization model.

  • Peer Review Plan (updated April 2024)
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Food Pattern Modeling for the 2025 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee

The 2025 Committee is using food pattern modeling to answer the following overarching scientific question:

Considering each life stage, should changes be made to the USDA Dietary Patterns (Healthy U.S.-Style, Healthy Mediterranean-Style, and/or Healthy Vegetarian), and should additional dietary patterns be developed/proposed based on:

  • findings from systematic reviews, data analysis, and/or food pattern modeling analyses;
  • population norms (e.g., starchy vegetables are often consumed interchangeably with grains);
  • preferences (e.g., emphasis on one staple grain versus another); and/or
  • needs (e.g., lactose intolerance)

of the diverse communities and cultural foodways within the U.S. population?

Changes to dietary patterns may include increases or decreases in amounts of food groups/subgroups and/or recategorization of food groups/subgroups, as well as subsequent changes to calories available for other uses, including for added sugars. This overarching question was informed by goals for the committee’s food pattern modeling analyses to use enhanced food pattern modeling methodology to better reflect intake variability and the range of possible healthful diets based on our diverse populations.

  • Peer Review Plan (updated April 2024)
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Household Food Loss and Food Waste: An Evidence Scan

This study will involve USDA/FNS/CNPP’s Nutrition Evidence Systematic Review team to conduct an evidence scan to describe the volume and characteristics of evidence available on household food loss and/or food waste. The results of the evidence scan will be used to determine whether there is sufficient evidence available to conduct a rapid review or systematic review to quantify the amount of food lost or wasted at the household level. Food waste is a variable in the model used to calculate the Thrifty Food Plan.

  • Peer Review Plan (updated April 2024)
    • You will not be able to view this document in your internet browser. Please follow the instructions at the top of this page.
Systematic Review Conducted by the 2025 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee

The 2025 Committee is conducting approximately 34 systematic reviews with support from the FNS CNPP/NESR team. These reviews will examine high priority topics on the relationship between diet and health across all life stages. The committee will use the results from this work to inform their Scientific Report to USDA and HHS, which will provide the scientific rationale for updates to the next editions of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. These systematic reviews will be conducted using NESR’s published methodology.

  • Peer Review Plan (updated April 2024)
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FDPIR Participant Characteristics and Program Operations Study

Based on a representative sample of tribes and participants, the study will leverage administrative data, case studies, and other mixed method data collection approaches to understand who is participating in the program, how the program is operated, and successes and challenges in implementing the self-determination demonstration projects.

  • Peer Review Plan (updated April 2024)
    • You will not be able to view this document in your internet browser. Please follow the instructions at the top of this page.
Completed Peer Review Plans and Reports

Contact Information

Joseph Clift, FNS Peer Review Official
Assistant Deputy Administrator for Policy Support
1320 Braddock Place
Alexandria, VA 22314
Email: Joseph.Clift@usda.gov

Additional Resources

Page updated: July 11, 2024