USDA Foods from Farm to Plate: Household Highlights, October 2018

USDA Foods - Household Highlights

News & Notes

Summary of Bonus Offerings to TEFAP in FY 2018


Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 was a big year for bonus offerings in The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) as USDA purchased over $400 million in food representing most of the major food groups. USDA's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) and Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) worked together to purchase a variety of items to support domestic agricultural producers and provide nutritious foods to emergency feeding organizations. This year included a rainbow of options from the fruit group: canned peaches and mixed fruit; dried cherries and plums; and frozen blueberries, strawberries, and raspberry puree. Raspberry puree was a new bonus offering in TEFAP and can be used in many different ways, such as drizzling warm raspberry puree on top of desserts or serving it as a topping for breakfast items such as pancakes, waffles, or oatmeal.

In addition to the fruit options, tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, beans, and fresh red potatoes provided strong representation for the vegetable group. The protein group included three pork items, six chicken items, turkey roasts, and catfish. The dairy group was represented by cheddar cheese and fluid milk purchases. USDA hopes these bonus foods supported programs in providing healthy, balanced pantry bags to families across the country. We look forward to continuing to provide a variety of bonus food items in the upcoming fiscal year.

Bonus Offerings: Inventory Management Reminders

USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) market support program will be purchasing up to $1.2 billion in USDA Foods, as part of the trade mitigation efforts, to support American agriculture producers affected by increased tariffs. 

State Distributing Agencies (SDA) and Recipient Agencies (RA) should practice effective inventory management to ensure that bonus offerings of USDA Foods are distributed in an efficient, timely manner and in optimal condition. Proper handling and storage of USDA Foods throughout the distribution chain is essential to maintain product quality and food safety. As a general rule, stock should be rotated utilizing FIFO (“First In - First Out”) based on the type of product, date the product was received, and product production or use by dates provided by the manufacturer. RAs should determine an effective schedule for product distribution. By taking the necessary precautions, food losses can be prevented. 

Receiving USDA Foods

Warehousing and distribution staff should be advised on how to properly receive and store USDA Foods. Examining the product as it is being received helps to avoid problems later. It is important that sufficient time is taken to inspect product, open cases, and, if needed, open internal packaging to check product at time of delivery. Take action immediately if the product does not meet the specifications. Document and report any issues and provide supporting photos. SDAs should report all USDA Foods complaints through the Web-Based Supply Chain Management system (WBSCM). 

Certain types of USDA Foods, such as dried fruits, grain products, and dairy products are more sensitive. If handled improperly, they may go out-of-condition prior to the dates provided by the manufacturer. These types of items should be stored in a cool, dry place at refrigerator or freezer temperatures, as applicable and in accordance with proper storage guidelines, and should be distributed to program recipients as soon as possible. 

SDAs and RAs must ensure that USDA Foods, including products distributed through bonus offerings, are stored in a way that protects them from infestation, spoilage, damage, or other conditions that may jeopardize the wholesomeness and safety of the foods. USDA Foods must be maintained in sanitary conditions, at the proper temperature and humidity, and with adequate air circulation. All SDAs and RAs must ensure that storage facilities have obtained all required Federal, State, and/or local health inspections and/or approvals and such inspections/approvals are current. 

For more information, review:

The Complaint Team is available Monday-Friday, 6:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

Featured Food

Bonus Buy of Fresh, Fluid Milk

Dairy Cow

Starting in October, USDA will distribute fresh, fluid milk to TEFAP sites as a bonus offering in FY 2019! USDA purchased nearly 63 million pounds and more than $20 million of skim, 1%, 2%, and whole milk. A good source of protein, calcium, and phosphorus, milk will be an excellent addition to the foods available for TEFAP recipients. Milk is fortified with vitamin D, which contributes to bone health. Vitamin D is found in few food sources and it can be difficult for your body to get enough from the sun especially during the cold winter months when the days are shorter. Milk is a versatile product that can be used simply in a bowl of cereal or added to a casserole or soup to thicken its consistency. Check out the USDA Mixing Bowl to find creative ways to use milk!

Ordering Outlook

Fresh oranges

New TEFAP Foods Available List

It’s the start of the new Federal fiscal year and the launch of a new TEFAP USDA Foods Available List for the coming year! USDA is continuously seeking feedback from State agencies, local programs, and other stakeholders in order to add or reformulate items to better meet the needs of program recipients. You asked and USDA has delivered a variety of new items to help meet the needs of food banks across the country, including more fresh produce options, more individual portion items for backpack programs, and more frozen protein options! 

Sweet potatoes

The updated Foods Available List includes the following additions: fresh sweet potatoes and oranges; dried cranberries and peanut butter in individual servings; and Alaska Pollock fillets and fish sticks. Additionally, new formulations are available for the beef stew and the cream of mushroom soup to better meet customer expectations. We hope you will give these items a try and encourage you to send feedback about other new items you would like to see to

Smaller Package of Nonfat Dry Milk Coming to CSFP

Nonfat Dry Milk

As you may know, in 2017 USDA convened a workgroup of State and local program representatives to provide input on the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) Food Package. One recommendation that was clear from the workgroup was that the larger package sizes of some food items were challenging for both participants and programs to manage. USDA has been working on a plan to introduce broader changes to the CSFP Food Package that will be announced at a later date, but we are pleased to announce that beginning as early as January 2019, a smaller package size of the nonfat dry milk will be introduced into CSFP! The new package is 12.8 oz, which is half the size of the current 25.6 oz package. Thus, programs will be able to issue one smaller unit monthly rather than one larger unit every other month. We think it will be a positive change for all! Policy guidance has been issued through the FNS Regional Offices about this change, but if you have other questions or feedback, feel free to contact your FNS Regional office or email

Policy Corner

CSFP Requests for Additional Caseload in 2019

Every year, currently participating CSFP State agencies and Indian Tribal Organizations (ITOs) seeking to serve more eligible seniors in their State are required to submit their request to their FNS Regional Offices. This year’s deadline to request additional caseload slots, or the number of individuals the State is authorized to serve, for the 2019 caseload cycle is November 5, 2018. We encourage States and local agencies who are already fully utilizing existing caseload and who anticipate expansion potential to request additional caseload slots for the 2019 cycle, in accordance with program requirements at 7 CFR 247.21(a)(2). Final caseload levels are subject to Congressional appropriations and available program resources in FY 2019. For more information, please refer to the “CSFP – Submission of State Plans and Additional Caseload Requests for 2019” memorandum, released on June 4, 2018.

Resource Roundup

Webinar Save the Date: How to Encourage Variety in CSFP

CSFP food packages

How does your program decide what to put in the CSFP food boxes each month? How can planning and creating menus help ensure you provide seniors with a variety of items to meet their food needs? Join us for a webinar on Thursday, November 29 from 2:00-3:00 Eastern Time to hear from USDA and CSFP program representatives about best practices to ensure that your program can serve a variety of foods in the CSFP food boxes.

Stay tuned for details! Review your subscription preferences to ensure you are signed up for the "Webinars - CSFP" topic to receive registration information about this and future events. 

Out & About

Focus: HOPE CSFP Program in Detroit Offers Client Choice

FOCUS Hope client receiving food

In August, USDA staff visited three CSFP distribution sites at Focus: HOPE in Detroit, Michigan. The program director, Frank Kubik, provided an overview of the program in Detroit that provides clients with the option to choose foods in each category using a “client choice” program model. USDA staff observed clients selecting their food with the assistance of program volunteers, clients partaking in a CSFP food tasting through a recipe prepared by a site volunteer, and volunteers pre-packing CSFP boxes for delivery to local senior programs and residential facilities. Focus: HOPE offers clients a variety of services in a warm environment with caring staff and volunteers. We thank the team at Focus: HOPE for providing USDA with an inside look at the CSFP program in action and invite you to view more photos of our visit here.

Program Spotlight

Massachusetts Food Pantry Features Senior Food Choice Program

Article courtesy of Kim A. Kennedy, Development Director, and Nia Rennix, Director of Food Pantry Services, Open Pantry Community Services, Inc.

Open Pantry's Emergency Food Pantry Senior Food Choice program is specifically designed to meet the immediate and long-term goals of disadvantaged seniors in greater Springfield, Massachusetts. The Emergency Food Pantry dedicates one day each month to serve seniors only in a grocery store-like setting. The program is a nutrition education-based program that promotes healthy eating based on the USDA MyPlate nutrition standards. The Senior Food Choice Program is held the 3rd Monday of the month at a pantry in the north end of Springfield, Massachusetts.  

Seniors are paired with a personal shopper to assist them while they choose their preferred foods using their own shopping carts. The program has removed the stigma associated with accessing a food pantry and provides dignity to our seniors.

Our Emergency Food Program staff complete a comprehensive intake assessment for all seniors to ensure they are receiving all available benefits they may be entitled to based on their income. We screen for participation in the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP), fuel assistance, and medical insurance. If a senior is not participating in an eligible benefit, we will refer them to the appropriate agency or assist in the application process. In addition, we attempt to address each senior's needs, beyond food, and make referrals for a variety of programs including free clothing and winter coats, help with utility bills, and housing needs.

Our seniors' lives change tremendously when they receive our services. We find that they have reduced stress levels once they know that they can access our food pantry on a monthly basis. Seniors also have an opportunity to network with each other and exchange helpful information about additional services that they may be eligible to receive. We also aim to help seniors make better nutrition choices by offering fresh fruit and produce at each senior day along with recipes and food tastings that will ultimately lead to healthier food choices and more nutritious meals for our seniors.

Open Pantry Senior Day

The seniors pictured to the left shared the following testimonial about the Open Pantry senior day:

“The Open Pantry helped us so much years ago when my husband’s health was failing. We would come monthly and get delicious foods and toiletries. This helped us to get back on our feet. Life can be cruel and hard. Good hearts like the people at the Open Pantry restored our faith in people. I am always happy to give back to the food pantry whenever I can. You can never give enough or too much.”

Does your TEFAP or CSFP site have a story or best practice to share? Email to be featured in an upcoming edition of this e-letter!

Technology Synopsis

New User Requests for WBSCM

Each person who will be accessing the Web-Based Supply Chain Management system (WBSCM) is assigned a unique user profile. Individuals who represent multiple organizations will have a separate user profile for each of these organizations.

WBSCM uses eAuthentication (eAuth) to manage login credentials. Only one eAuth account may be linked per user profile in WBSCM. Creating an eAuth account will not automatically grant access to WBSCM; a user profile must be created by a WBSCM administrator.

New users should contact the User Administrator for your organization (SDA, RA, ITO, etc.) to request access. Additional tips can be found in the WBSCM f.a.q.

Note: User Administrators can find guidance on creating a new user profile in WBSCM under Help -> Training -> Job Aids -> General Help -> WBSCM User Administration.

After the profile has been created in WBSCM, the new user will receive an email with instructions to create, activate, and register their eAuth account. Most errors encountered during registration result from selecting the wrong link in the email message or not entering the Last Name and Email exactly the same way as in WBSCM.

Help for Forgotten Login Information

The service desk teams for WBSCM cannot recover user login credentials. These are maintained in a separate system called eAuthentication. To recover forgotten information, self-service tools are available from the login screen via the I forgot my User ID | Password links.

eAuth Login Box

To recover forgotten User ID(s), click on User ID. After entering your information, you will receive a list of any User ID(s) linked to this email.

To reset a forgotten Password, click on Password. You will be prompted to enter your User ID and answer the security questions you previously set up for your eAuthentication profile. After confirming your identity, you will be prompted to enter a new password. This action will also unlock your account if you had entered the wrong password too many times. Note: The Change my Password link can be used to update your account only if you know your current password.

For your convenience, a shortcut to the password reset tool is also provided on the WBSCM webpage:

eAuth password link on WBSCM page

If you have forgotten both your password and your security question responses:

  • Users with a LincPass (USDA-issued ID) should contact the eAuthentication Service Desk for assistance at 1-800-457-3642, option 1.
  • Users without a LincPass will need to reestablish access to WBSCM with a new login ID. Contact the User Administrator for your organization.

On the Horizon

USDA staff will be participating in these upcoming meetings in 2019. We look forward to the opportunity to meet you and hope to see you there!

February 24-26: National Anti-Hunger Policy Conference, co-hosted by Feeding America and the Food Research & Action Center in cooperation with the National CACFP Forum, in Washington, DC.

May 5-8: American Commodity Distribution Association (ACDA) Annual National Conference in Niagara Falls, New York.

How to Sign Up for the USDA Foods E-Letter


1. Click here. Or you can go to the Food Distribution website and click on the red envelope on the row of social media icons on the top right of the page.

2. Enter your email address and click "Submit."

3. Check the boxes to select your topic(s) of interest. For these e-letters, scroll down to the Food Distribution category and click the plus sign to the left of the check box to expand the list and view all the topics. Select any of these topics to receive the general e-letter plus the corresponding program-specific e-letter(s) of your choice:

*USDA Foods --> receive all "USDA Foods from Farm to Plate" e-letters

*Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) --> receive "Household Highlights"

*The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) --> receive "Household Highlights"

*Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR) --> receive "FDPIR Connection"

*Schools/Child Nutrition Commodity Programs --> receive "Spotlight on Schools"

4. Visit the subscriber preferences page any time you would like to review, add, or delete subscriptions. Questions? Contact

5. Share the e-letter and new subscriber link with interested colleagues and friends!