Clara Lau (202) 720-8998
Billy Cox (202) 720-8998
WASHINGTON, May 1, 2008 – Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer announced USDA’s plan to purchase up to $50 million of pork products which will be donated to child nutrition and other domestic food assistance programs.
“We provide food assistance to one in every five Americans,” said Schafer. “We are working to increase benefits due to rising food costs and to ensure we have full funding for our food assistance programs.”
USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) purchases a variety of high-quality food products each year for distribution by USDA's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) for the national school lunch program, the school breakfast program, the summer food service program, the food distribution program on Indian reservations, the nutrition program for the elderly, the commodity supplemental food program and the emergency food assistance program. USDA also makes emergency purchases of commodities for distribution to victims of natural disasters.
Based upon USDA's intent to buy these pork products, FNS will survey potential recipients to determine how much product will be accepted for shipping. AMS will seek the lowest overall cost by publicly inviting bids to supply the desired quantity and by awarding contracts to responsible bidders.
Government food experts work to ensure that all purchased food is healthful and nutritious. Food items are normally required to be low in fat, sugar and sodium. The commodities must meet specified grade requirements and be USDA-inspected or graded to ensure quality. AMS purchases only products of 100 percent domestic origin.
More information about USDA programs is available at www.usda.gov.