The mission of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Distribution Program is to strengthen the nation’s nutrition safety net by providing food and nutrition assistance to school children and families; and support American agriculture by distributing high quality, 100 percent American-grown USDA Foods. In Connecticut, the USDA Food Distribution Program for school nutrition programs and the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is administered through the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE).
Schools and institutions that participate in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) receive USDA Foods, which are also known as “entitlement” foods. Each year, schools receive a Planned Assistance Level (PAL) based on the number of reimbursable lunches served in the previous school year (July 1 through June 30) multiplied by the federal per meal rate. The federal per meal rate for USDA Foods changes yearly and is published each July in the Federal Register. The current per meal rate for USDA Foods is included in the CSDE’s reimbursement rates memo for the current school year, which is available on the CSDE’s Reimbursement Rates for Child Nutrition Programs webpage.
- Overview of USDA Foods Program in Connecticut (CSDE)
- Product Information
- Product Specifications (Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) website): Include detailed product information, e.g., defined serving sizes, limits on specific nutrients, ingredients included or restricted, commercial kosher certifications, and if product is raw or cooked
- USDA Foods Available List: Updated annually in December/January and includes every food item available for purchase for the following school year)
- USDA Foods Database: Provides vendor-specific nutrition, allergen, and ingredient information for direct delivery USDA Foods for Child Nutrition Programs. Products can be searched by food category and WBSCM material code.
- USDA Foods in Schools Product Information Sheets: Include product description, crediting and yield information, culinary tips and recipes, food safety information, and Nutrition Facts per serving. Will be replaced with the USDA Foods Database by December 2023.
- CSDE Presentation from the SNACT USDA Foods Show: Pivoting into 2022 (February 2022)
- Institute of Child Nutrition (Note: Users must create a free account in iLearn)
- Value of Donated Foods Notices (USDA)
Nondiscrimination Statements (USDA and CSDE)