USDA provides a range of services for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) at firms that supply food products to DoD and their customers.
USDA inspects fresh fruits and vegetables purchased by Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA)
to ensure that the produce meets contract specifications.
DoDís Defense Logistics Agency (DLA)
evaluates suppliers to verify that the type and quality of food products being provided meet contract specifications.
DLA requires USDA inspection of many food components used in DoDís Operational (i.e., combat) Rations
. Contractors supplying Operational Rations, such as the Meal, Ready-to-Eat (MRE) and the First Strike Ration, and certain items in DoDís Unitized Group Rations are required to have the key food components in these rations produced under USDA inspection. Under this program, USDA monitors plant sanitation and compliance with FDAís Good Manufacturing Practices, verifies the firmís adherence to their stated quality system plan, inspects finished products for conformance with military requirements, and certifies acceptable products for shipment into the rations programs. USDA graders help ensure that the meals reaching U.S. troops are reliable and meet troopsí quality and nutrition needs.