USDA Foods from Farm to Plate: Household Highlights, June 2019

USDA Foods - Household Highlights

Featured Food: Raisins


Raisins are a new addition to the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) Food Package and are returning to The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP)! This item will be available in a 15 oz package (100295) and can be used in many ways. Raisins are simply grapes that have been dried, and they are packed with dietary fiber and antioxidants. Dietary fiber is essential to maintain a healthy digestive system and antioxidants are beneficial for the health of all populations. Raisins are ready-to-eat and can be eaten as a quick snack or used as a topping for yogurt, cereal, or even a salad. Talk to your recipients about this new option and include raisins in your plans for distribution later this year!

News & Notes

Phase 3 purchases for the Trade Mitigation Food Purchase and Distribution Program included several trucks of dried cranberries (material code 100300) for CSFP. CSFP participants will be receiving a bonus 30 oz. package of dried cranberries in addition to their regular food package. Product will be delivered to the National Warehouses this summer allowing states to order for their assigned caseload.

Dried cranberries pair well with nuts and can be used as a topping for oatmeal, add extra flavor to a salad, or be enjoyed as a simple snack. During the feedback process informing the upcoming enhancements to the CSFP food package, participants expressed an interest in dried fruit options. The cranberries and raisins, our featured food in this e-letter, are coming in response to that feedback as we strive to meet our participants' dietary needs and preferences!

Policy Corner

The 2018 Farm Bill Makes Changes to TEFAP State Plan Requirements and Food Funding

On April 15, the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) released a TEFAP memorandum providing information on TEFAP provisions in the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (P.L. 115-334), also referred to as the Farm Bill. Section 4018 of the Farm Bill requires state agencies to amend their State Plans to describe their method for giving emergency feeding organizations or eligible recipient agencies within the state an opportunity to provide input on the USDA Foods preferences and needs of the emergency feeding organization or eligible recipient agency. TEFAP state agencies were required to amend their State Plans to include this new provision and submit the plans to their respective FNS Regional Office representatives for review and approval no later than May 31, 2019.

Section 4018 of the Farm Bill also provides information on the amount of funding available for TEFAP food purchases. The Farm Bill maintains the current funding formula for TEFAP food funds and authorizes additional amounts annually for Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 through FY 2023. For FY 2019, an additional $23 million is added, and for FY 2020 through FY 2023, $35 million is added. Further information on TEFAP funding can be found in the FY 2019 Food and Administrative Funding for TEFAP Memorandum

News & Notes

CSFP Webinar Announcement:

How to Plan for Variety in the New CSFP Food Package

Register Now

The enhanced CSFP Food Package will be implemented on November 1, 2019, and includes new foods and package sizes that will allow CSFP providers to offer more variety to participants in many ways. Join us on July 11, 1:30-2:30 p.m. Eastern Time to learn how to provide more variety in your CSFP Food Package.

Register now! 

Resource Roundup

CSFP Webinar Recording:

What Are CSFP State and Local Agencies Doing to Prepare for Changes?

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In case you missed it, we hosted a webinar on April 24 to share how state and local agencies are preparing for the upcoming changes to the CSFP Food Package. Listen to two state agencies and one local agency share their plans to prepare for the changes, including how they get feedback from clients and tips to manage ordering and inventory to accommodate new products and package sizes.

Listen now!


CSFP Planning Calendar

USDA developed a number of resources as part of the CSFP Food Package Toolkit to help state agencies and local sites prepare to implement the upcoming changes to the CSFP Food Package. The latest addition to the toolkit is the CSFP Planning Calendar. The Planning Calendar helps states and local sites stay on track with things they should be doing or thinking about to prepare for the changes that will begin November 1, 2019. This resource is broken down by month and by activity type to help states and local sites stay organized and on track! Be sure to check out this document and email us at if you have any questions.

CSFP Sharing Gallery

This month FNS launched a Sharing Gallery for CSFP! The new website contains a variety of resources to help agencies provide more nutrition and food information to CSFP participants. Check out the materials currently available in the following categories:

We invite you to submit your content for posting to the Sharing Gallery! Please review our Sharing Gallery Criteria for submitting materials and our Recipe Criteria for submitting recipes, then send your resources to  

Interested in hearing about new resources added to the CSFP Sharing Gallery? Subscribe to the Food Distribution - CSFP Nutrition Education topic to receive quarterly email updates.

CSFP Sharing Gallery homepage image

Conference Clips

ACDA Conference Recap

The American Commodity Distribution Association (ACDA) Annual National Conference was held May 6-8 in Niagara Falls, New York. USDA staff enjoyed the opportunity to interact with about 700 partners from state agencies, industry, school districts, and food banks. USDA presented information about TEFAP and CSFP funding, policy, operations, Trade Mitigation purchases, the CSFP Food Package, and the USDA Foods Complaints Process. USDA staff also attended a variety of sessions and meetings to dialogue with state and local agencies and hear best practices about the management of USDA Foods. We enjoyed seeing many of you and look forward to the next opportunity to speak with you about USDA Foods at a future conference or webinar opportunity!

CSFP Conference Recap

The National CSFP Association Conference was held June 10-12 in Alexandria, Virginia. USDA staff led sessions about the CSFP Food Package enhancement, managing caseload, the 2018 Farm Bill, and other policy and operational updates. USDA staff also had great discussions with states and local sites in attendance at the conference about operating this important program for seniors. We always appreciate the opportunity to interact with people implementing our USDA Foods programs at the local level, and we look forward to continuing our discussions as we move closer to the November 1 implementation of the enhanced food package.

Blurbs from Blogs

Louisiana Tour Highlights Making a Difference One Meal and One Life at a Time 

by Brandon Lipps, Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services 

During a recent visit to Louisiana, I had the opportunity to see several FNS programs in action. I gained greater insight on the different ways FNS is helping Americans find a path to self-sufficiency, while providing access to food through FNS’ nutrition programs to people who need it most.

Brandon Lipps, FNS Administrator, tours Catholic Charities Food for Families Distribution Center.

After arriving in New Orleans, I visited the Catholic Charities Food for Families Distribution Center (pictured left). USDA partners with the organization through the Commodity Supplement Food Program (CSFP). CSFP works to improve the health of low-income persons who are at least 60 years of age by supplementing their diets with nutritious USDA Foods. I saw the center’s distribution process and learned how recent changes to the USDA Foods packages have improved their customer service.

“We’re so happy about the food changes in the Louisiana package,” said Executive Director Tim Robertson. “Our clients like being able to get grits every month and having a variety of fruits and vegetables.”

In February, the USDA announced the changes to the packages after getting feedback from a workgroup of State and local agency partners. The improvements better align with Dietary Guidelines for Americans and allow CSFP providers to offer more variety and flexibility within each food package category.

Read more on the USDA Blog

Best Practices for Storing USDA Foods

sample CSFP food package as of November 1, 2019

In preparation for the upcoming Trade Mitigation deliveries and new items being added to the CSFP monthly food package, now is a good time to review best practices for inventory management. The number one rule of thumb is: Only order what you need and your Recipient Agencies can use. Proper inventory management will ensure that 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.

Here are a few best practices:

  • Inspect the product as it is received, open cases, and, if needed, open internal packaging to check product at the time of delivery. Date product with day it was received and adhere to the product dates provided by the manufacturer.
  • Store product properly. Certain products such as dried fruits, e.g. raisins, and grain products, e.g. brown rice, are more sensitive to storage conditions. These types of items should be stored in a cool, dry place at refrigerator or freezer temperatures and should be distributed to program recipients as soon as possible.
  • Rotate stock utilizing a FIFO (“First In, First Out”) system.
  • Maintain sanitary conditions, proper temperatures and humidity, and adequate air circulation.
  • Determine an effective schedule for product distribution.

For more information, review:

Technology Synopsis

WBSCM Updates and Help Resources

The Web-Based Supply Chain Management System (WBSCM) is under continuous improvement. The March – June releases include updated content and improved training materials for Multi-Food orders, domestic requisitions, shipment receipts, downloading the catalog, and complaints. All monthly changes are documented in the Release Notes, which may be accessed in WBSCM at Help > Training > Release Notes.

FNS strives to make WBSCM training materials easy to follow and understand. Recent improvements include separating manual entry and upload processes that were formerly contained in the same document as well as creating alternative versions of some work instructions to show the screens and options available to different user groups.

Training materials include Work Instructions, Job Aids, Simulations, and Courses. When logged in, users can access training materials while performing a transaction, by browsing the full library, or by performing a keyword search.

To browse training materials, navigate to Help > Training > and drill down through the categories, user groups, and functional areas or topics. Most documents will open in a separate browser window or tab, with options to download as PDF or other format(s).

A link to a short tutorial of WBSCM navigation and help resources is available on the announcement banner at Help > Welcome.

Additional resources are available from the FNS webpage for WBSCM, including system requirements and browser settings, an FAQ, and examples and templates for uploading or downloading data from WBSCM.

For additional assistance, contact the WBSCM Service Desk or call (877) 927-2648.

New Receipting View in Development for WBSCM

The WBSCM team is developing a streamlined approach for creating and reconciling advanced shipment notifications (ASN), goods receipts, and invoices. WBSCM’s new electronic invoicing (eINV) process will introduce changes to the screen for entering receipts as well as the ability to make changes to recently submitted receipts. There are no changes to the process or template for uploading goods receipts.

WBSCM eINV - changes to the screen for entering receipts

The key changes to manual entry of goods receipts include:

  1. There are two new fields: Further Actions and Receipt Status.
  2. The fields for entering good, damaged, and rejected quantities may appear in a different order. Additionally, the good quantity will only require updating if there are discrepancies or part of the shipment is damaged or rejected.
    • Good Qty. or Good Qty. (in CS), as applicable, is auto-populated from the ASN.
    • For variable weight items, only the Good Qty (in CS) is required; WBSCM will calculate the weight.
  3. To fix typos or update information for recently entered receipts, an option is available to Modify Receipt. In most cases, it is no longer necessary to open a WBSCM incident.

This new functionality will be applied to a limited set of orders and deliveries for testing and feedback over the next few months. WBSCM-wide implementation of eINV for all direct delivery materials is expected to begin in early fall 2019.

FNS will contact organizations that will be impacted by eINV pilot testing to provide relevant order and delivery information as well as instructions for the new process. Additional information is forthcoming prior to full implementation.

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