USDA Foods Updates

department of education

March 11, 2019

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foods Updates


Spring Surveys – Closing March 22

Reminder:  The Spring Commodity Surveys are closing March 22 for all products.  The Spring Surveys offer a large spectrum of USDA Foods and processing options.  Please contact the Food Distribution Team at 651-582-8526 if you have questions or need assistance. More information about the surveys can be accessed on the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) Food Distribution Program webpage.


Change in Entitlement Carryover Policy

Beginning with school year 2020-2021, there will no longer be any commodity entitlement dollars carried over at the end of the school year. The purpose of this policy change is to ensure that MDE can meet the USDA requirement to spend 95% of its allocated entitlement

School Food Authorities (SFAs) will have the Spring Survey (currently open) and the Fall Survey (coming in September) to use all of their commodity entitlement. After the Fall Survey, the entitlement will no longer be carried over. Typically, Fall Surveys offer fewer USDA Foods options, so you may want to take that into consideration as you plan your Spring Surveys.

This new policy applies to sponsors in the National School Lunch Program and Summer Food Service Program, who participate in the USDA Food Distribution Program (FDP). Sponsors will be issued credits for complaints, short cases, and recalls from the previous school year.


Reduced Entitlement for Spring Surveys

Some SFAs may have noticed a decrease in their entitlement from last year. This was partially caused by the changing market prices for the ordered trucks, and partially due to the over-allocation of entitlement to sponsors.


Snow Days and Department of Defense (DoD) Fresh

Did you experience any snow days so far this year? Most schools in Minnesota have – some districts up to nine days! That many days without school can wreak havoc on your DoD Fresh ordering. We understand that this may mean you have some unused DoD funds for cancelled produce orders for the snow days. Just remember that any money left over in DoD Fresh after June 30, 2019, will no longer be available to you – use it or lose it!

Here are some ways you can use up your DoD Fresh entitlement dollars before the end of the school year:

  1. Add more fresh fruit to your menu. Think fresh pineapple, kiwi, strawberries, melon and tangelos.
  2. Purchase pre-cut items or prepackaged, individual servings of sliced fruit or veggies. These options are easy to serve, fun for kids to eat, and save on costly meal prep time.
  3. Purchase produce that can be frozen now, and reheated and served later.
  4. Offer Chef Salad as an alternate every day.
  5. Offer yogurt and fresh fruit parfaits as a fun option for breakfast
  6. Purchase some of the specialty fruit that is offered through DoD Fresh
  7. Considering trying some of the new “Minnesota locally grown” lettuce (Romaine Crunch) which is a little more expensive
  8. Treat your students to Honeycrisp apples, instead of the usual apple options.
  9. Increase the frequency of times strawberries are offered in the Spring. Students love them!
  10. Transfer your unusable funds to another sponsor that would be able to spend it.

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