USDA Foods from Farm to Plate: Spotlight on Schools, February 2022

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USDA Foods from Farm to Plate
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Spotlight on Schools, February 2022

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News & Notes

USDA Foods Database: Delivering Nutrition, Allergen, and Ingredient Information for USDA Foods in Schools

Beginning January 1, 2022, vendors who supply direct delivered, also known as “brown box,” USDA Foods for Child Nutrition Programs will be required to submit nutrition, allergen, and ingredient information. This vendor-specific product information will be available in the USDA Foods Database, allowing states and school districts to access this information before placing orders. The USDA Foods Database will inform the ordering decisions of FNS stakeholders and will help them manage menu planning, meet USDA meal pattern requirements and nutrition standards, and provide safe meals for students with food allergies and other special dietary needs.

USDA will release the USDA Foods Database in Spring 2022. Here is a quick look at what’s to come:

USDA Foods Database

The USDA Foods Database displays the food category, material code, product description, serving size, grams/serving, CN crediting, and case yield, as well as nutrient information. The vendor’s name and the brand name is also listed in case they are not the same. In this example, one of the products is listed as unbranded.

USDA Foods Database

The USDA Foods Database also displays allergens, identifies kosher and halal certifications, and provides a full ingredient list.

The database includes the date the vendor last updated the product information and there is a date in the bottom right corner that indicates when the state or school district accessed this information.

This non-editable Excel spreadsheet can be downloaded, saved, and printed. It will be updated monthly and can be used as documentation during administrative reviews. Release notes will be included with the monthly updates so that users are aware of any changes made since the prior version. A log of prior versions will also be made available for record keeping purposes.

Click this link for a full list of materials that will be required in the USDA Foods Database and to check out frequently asked questions.

The link above will host the USDA Foods Database when it is available. Make sure you are prepared for the release by saving this link as a favorite in your web browser!

USDA Foods Available List for SY 2022-23

On January 4th, the SY 2022-23 USDA Foods Available List for Schools and Institutions was published. This list was updated to reflect removal of two bulk materials due to changes in processor needs.  Check out these updates below.

Items Removed:

  • 100100 – Chicken, Small Birds, Chilled – Bulk
  • 100421 – Flour, Bakers Soft Wheat, Unbleached – Bulk

The USDA Foods List of Materials SY 2022-23 was also updated to provide an estimated price per pound, per case, and per truck for all USDA Foods items available in SY 21-22. This information can be used by States and school districts to estimate the entitlement value of USDA Foods orders placed for the upcoming school year.

Don’t forget that USDA Foods entitlement may also be used to order a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables for weekly delivery through the USDA DoD Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program. Contact your State Distributing Agency if you are interested in participating in this program.

USDA Foods in Schools logo

Supply Chain Assistance Funds for School Meal Programs

To help school districts deal with the challenges of the supply chain disruptions brought on by the pandemic, USDA has committed an additional $1.5 billion in support for schools nationwide.  These funds will provide $1 billion in financial assistance for school meal programs, $300 million in additional USDA Foods resources, and $200 million for cooperative agreements with States to purchase local food for schools.  Please refer to the fact sheet for detailed information about each of the funding opportunities.  USDA has allocated $300 million in USDA Foods funds and is working with States to collect USDA Foods orders by March 18th after the catalog opened in mid-January.  School districts with questions about the additional USDA Foods resources should contact their State Agency for more information.

USDA Child Nutrition Programs: Transitional Standards for Milk, Whole Grains, and Sodium

On February 4, USDA announced updates to the school nutrition standards to give schools a path forward as they transition from current pandemic operations toward more nutritious meals.  The Child Nutrition Programs: Transitional Standards for Milk, Whole Grains, and Sodium final rule includes updates for milk, whole grains, and sodium, while keeping other nutrition requirements the same as the 2012 standards.  These updated standards will be in effect for school year (SY) 2022-2023 and run through SY 2023-2024.  USDA is also working to establish long-term nutrition standards.  Comments on the final rule or future rulemaking related to school nutrition requirements can be submitted to USDA by March 24, 2022, in the Federal Register

Featured Food

Child Nutrition Recipe Box Logo

USDA Foods for Culturally Inspired Dishes

USDA Foods products are minimally seasoned and processed and can be customized to meet the diverse menu needs of school districts across the country. Beans, rice, cheese, tomatoes, and chicken are just a few examples of products that can serve as base ingredients to create many culturally or regionally inspired dishes. The variety and versatility of USDA Foods products allows schools to develop their menus based on their regional and cultural preferences, while still meeting the required nutrition standards.

Check out just a few of the many USDA Standardized Recipes from the Institute of Child Nutrition’s Child Nutrition Recipe Box that utilize USDA Foods as ingredients in culturally inspired dishes.


USDA Foods Products

Arroz Con Queso (Rice with Cheese)

  • Rice, Brown, Long Grain, Parboiled (101031 or 100500)
  • Corn, Whole Kernel, No Salt Added, Frozen (100348 or 111053)
  • Beans, Pinto, Low-sodium, Canned (100365) or Beans, Pinto, Dry (100382)
  • Cheese, Cheddar, Yellow, Reduced Fat, Shredded, Chilled (100012)

Sesame Asian Noodle Salad

  • Orange Juice, Unsweetened, Cartons, Frozen (100277) or Cups (110651)
  • Oil, Vegetable* (100439)
  • Pasta, Spaghetti, Whole Grain-Rich Blend* (110506)
  • Chicken, Diced, Cooked, Frozen (100101)

Kati Kati Baked Chicken

  • Chicken, Grilled Fillet, 2.0 MMA, Cooked, Frozen (110921)
  • Oil, Vegetable* (100439)

Jollof Rice

  • Rice, Brown, Long Grain, Parboiled (101031 or 100500)
  • Tomatoes, Diced, No Salt Added, Canned (100329)
  • Tomato Sauce, Low-sodium, Canned* (100334)
  • Oil, Vegetable* (100439)

Spanish Chickpea Stew

  • Spinach, Chopped, No Salt Added, Frozen (IQF) (110425)
  • Beans, Garbanzo, Low-sodium, Canned (K) (100360)
  • Tomatoes, Diced, No Salt Added, Canned* (100329)

*Ingredients listed in the recipe are slightly different than the USDA Foods product, which may alter the nutrition information but should not impact the quantity or quality of the recipe.

For the fresh fruits and vegetables found in these recipes, check out the offerings available for weekly delivery through the USDA DoD Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program.

What culturally inspired dishes are you cooking up with your USDA Foods?  Feel free to share with us at

Resource Roundup

Lunch tray

USDA Foods in Schools Catalogs Open for School Year 22-23 Orders

It’s the time of year when State Agencies and school districts work together to place USDA Foods orders for the upcoming school year, with deliveries beginning in July 2022. USDA understands that many school districts may be uncertain about their service model or participation for the upcoming school year and have questions about the USDA Foods order due dates.  USDA works with each industry group to determine how much advance notice they need to produce the food that school districts request. For some foods, such as seasonal fruits and vegetables, orders for the entire year are needed in the spring so the industry has firm order quantities and knows how much product to plant or package for USDA Foods. For other foods, such as meat and cheese, USDA purchases product much closer to the time of delivery (e.g. 60 days in advance), so USDA offers order due dates throughout the year to allow States the flexibility to add, cancel or change orders during the year with sufficient notice to USDA.

It is important to remember that USDA Foods supports domestic growers and processors and these industries need good forecasts to produce enough of the right products to meet the needs of school districts nationwide.  Schools should work with their State Agency to see which foods require firm commitments for the entire school year and which products may have flexibility to order later when you have a better sense of what your menu and participation will look like.  State Agency contacts for USDA Foods in Schools can be found here.        

Conference Preview

ACDA logo

American Commodity Distribution Association Conference Preview

This year's annual American Commodity Distribution Association (ACDA) conference will be April 24th-27th in Orlando, FL. View the full conference schedule here. USDA will be leading a variety of sessions during the conference. Here are a few highlights:

The Wait is Over: Nutrition, Allergen, and Ingredient Information for USDA Foods in Schools at Your Fingertips! - Vendor-specific nutrition, allergen, and ingredient information for direct delivered USDA Foods is now available for States and school districts, providing stakeholders with an opportunity to easily review USDA Foods product information before placing orders. This session will provide information about this new nutrient database and how States and school districts can use it to inform ordering decisions and plan menus.

Understanding the Role of USDA Foods in Child Nutrition Programs From Entitlement to Title Transfer - This session will help stakeholders develop a better understanding of the policies and regulations for managing USDA Foods. It will include an overview of topics such as entitlement calculation, State and school food authority roles and responsibilities, request driven ordering systems, title transfer, single inventory, and warehouse contract and insurance requirements.

Connecting the Dots: Tips on How to Get the Best Value from Processing USDA Foods - This session will provide an overview of actions to take from the posting of SEPDS and the material price file in November to closing out the school year and will highlight the best times to take action to get the most value from USDA Foods further processing.

We look forward to meeting you there! 

Technology Synopsis

Browser Change for WBSCM Coming in March 2022

The Web-based Supply Chain Management (WBSCM) system will be transitioning to Google Chrome as the preferred browser for access to the WBSCM Portal on March 14, 2022, due to Microsoft ending support for the former preferred browser (Internet Explorer).

All users are encouraged to begin using Chrome for activities in WBSCM. Please report any issues or challenges to the WBSCM Service Desk, so they can be recorded and tracked for further analysis and testing.

After the transition, WBSCM performance will be best in Chrome; however, users may continue to use other browsers. Work instructions will be updated to show screenshots from the Chrome browser.

A new job aid with updated browser settings and tips for working with WBSCM in Chrome is now available. To prepare for the browser transition, please perform the following:

  • Download and install Google Chrome.
  • Check to see that you have the latest version of Chrome.
  • Enable pop-ups. You may enable all pop-ups or just those for
  • Create a bookmark in Chrome for the WBSCM Portal using this address:

Depending on your administrative settings, you may need assistance from your organization’s IT support.

For questions about WBSCM, please contact the WBSCM Service Desk or call (877) 927-2648.

On the Horizon

USDA staff will be participating in these upcoming meetings in 2022:

We hope to see you there!

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