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Nutrition Programs

The Bureau of Nutrition and Health Services is responsible for the distribution of USDA Foods to participants in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). Participants in NSLP include public and non-public schools as well as residential child care institutions (RCCIs).

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Keep up to date on USDA Foods news and food safety information. Sign up to receive USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service Alerts. For general food safety information, visit

School Program participants are notified of USDA Foods Product alerts and recalls through an email system (the School Food Authority is responsible for keeping their emergency contact email address on file with the Bureau current) and posting to the Bureau website.

For the most current list of unsafe, hazardous, or defective products, six federal agencies with vastly different jurisdictions have joined together to create, a "one-stop shop" for U.S. Government recalls.

No alerts on USDA Foods at this time.

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USDA Foods Nutritional Information

For nutrition information on the direct distribution products access the USDA Foods Database or USDA Foods Product Information Sheets .

For nutrition information on the Diverted Foods (DF) processed items in google drive folder, Diverted Foods Nutritionals and Information .

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Direct Distribution

Direct Distribution (DD) is the traditional option for SFAs to receive their USDA Foods annually. This option includes items obtained directly from USDA vendors such as canned fruit and vegetables, frozen meats, flour, and pasta. These items are ordered through and delivered by the BNHS contracted vendor. 

Diverted Foods

Diverted Foods (DF) is an additional way to spend your Planned Assistance Level (PAL). The State Agency along with the Advisory Council, have procured the processing and delivery services of USDA Foods for the State of Iowa. Annually SFAs request pounds of USDA Foods such as chicken, turkey, beef, cheese, and pork to be diverted to selected processors on their behalf. SFAs can then purchase specified end product from a commercial distributor and receive price discounts (net price, rebates, etc) at the time of purchase.

DoD (Department of Defense) Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program

The DoD Fresh Fruit and Vegetable program is an optional way for SFAs to spend their PAL budget every year. Dollars allocated can be used to purchase domestically grown fresh fruits and vegetables weekly. Sign up for the DoD program is in the spring of the previous school year.

USDA Food Values

USDA Food values will reflect the actual purchase price of the product by USDA. Consequently, because we receive multiple truckloads per year, the value of some products may change from one delivery to the next. Be mindful of when you received the product, along with which vendor you received when selecting which value to use to calculate your inventory value.

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Advisory Council

The USDA Foods Advisory Council serves to assist the State Agency in decisions regarding USDA Foods. The main function of the council is to determine what bulk USDA Foods and end products will be procured for the Diverted Foods program. Council members participate in the specification writing, reviewing solicitation documents, and evaluation of proposals and bids. As well council members learn more about the USDA Foods program and provide feedback and guidance for the State Agency.

If you are interested in serving on the USDA Foods Advisory Council, please fill out the interest form to submit to Bureau.

USDA Foods Advisory Council Interest Form

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Publications and Reports

USDA Foods Complaint Procedure

When a problem is discovered with a USDA Food, a complaint form must be filled out and submitted as soon as possible. Please isolate and hold onto any affected product until the complaint has been reported. Please use the following form to report your complaint. USDA Foods Complaint Form

Schools that store USDA Foods at a non-SFA owned facility must complete an annual review. Schools will be asked to report the date of review to the state agency. A sample Storage Facility Review Form can be found under download forms on IowaCNP.

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Standardized Recipes using USDA Foods

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Disaster Feeding with USDA Foods

In the event of a natural disaster, such as flooding or tornadoes, School Food Authorities (SFA) have a unique opportunity to be part of the disaster response in their community and region. Disaster relief organizations are the primary response agents when a disaster occurs, however SFAs may be asked by disaster relief organizations to act as a congregate meal site, or to assist with disaster feeding at another site. States have the authority to release USDA Foods, from SFA inventories, to these relief organizations for use during disaster feeding.

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