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

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U.S. Department of Agriculture
USDA Foods from Farm to Plate
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Spotlight on Schools, November 2022

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News & Notes

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USDA Foods Database Released!

As of September 30, 2022, the USDA Foods Database is available for States and school districts to access up-to-date, vendor-specific nutrition, allergen, and ingredient information for direct delivered USDA Foods for Child Nutrition Programs. The USDA Foods Database makes USDA Foods product information available in an easily accessible format. Providing this information to National School Lunch Program participants is a requirement in the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act. 

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. A variety of product information from vendors can be found in the database including:

  • USDA Foods material code
  • Brand name
  • Nutrition facts
  • Serving size
  • Allergen information
  • Ingredients
  • Kosher and halal certification, when applicable.

The USDA Foods Database will provide vendor-specific product information in a non-editable Excel spreadsheet on the FNS website. States and school districts can access the USDA Foods Database at-will to use as a planning tool. Users can expect significant updates over the next year to include product information for additional products and from additional vendors.

School Lunch

USDA Launches $100 Million Healthy School Meals Initiative

On September 23, 2022, USDA Food and Nutrition Service launched the first phase of its $100 million Healthy School Meals Incentives Initiative by releasing a request for applications for a non-governmental organization to manage grants of up to $150,000 each to small and/or rural school meal programs, establish an awards program to recognize school districts that are excelling in their meal quality, and support schools in bringing best practices into their lunchrooms. Apply by November 28, 2022.

Resource Roundup

Produce Safety Resources

These produce safety resources provide information and best practices on receiving and storing fresh produce to help ensure that program operators and participants receive and use produce items that are high quality and safe. Use the following links to view and download these resources:

Produce Storage Chart

This chart provides information on the storage of fresh produce to maintain its quality and safety, including ideal temperatures and locations. Although the visual below represents a walk-in refrigerator, the information provided can be be applied to other equipment used to keep food cold, such as a reach-in refrigerator.

Refrigerator Storage

Produce Information Fact Sheets

These fact sheets provide information about various types of produce including apples, bananas, broccoli, cantaloupe, carrots, grapes, lettuce, oranges, squash, strawberries, tomatoes, and watermelon. Topics include seasonal availability and guidelines for receiving, storage, and handling.

Apple Information Fact Sheet

Program Spotlight

Average Material Price for USDA Foods Processing

Every November 1st, as School Food Authorities (SFAs) begin to plan for the upcoming school year, FNS posts the Summary End Product Data Schedules (SEPDS) on PartnerWeb for State Distributing Agencies and processors to share with SFAs. The SEPDS are used to help the SFAs prepare their bids for processed end products.  At the same time, FNS also posts the Average Material Price, which is used in valuing the USDA Foods discounts and rebates for the National Processing Program posted on the SEPDS. 

For example, when an SFA diverts USDA Foods, (mozzarella cheese, tomato paste, and flour) to a processor to make cheese pizza, the value of the USDA Foods used to make the pizzas is determined by multiplying the USDA established price per pound (Average Material Price) by the quantity of USDA Foods contained in or needed to produce each finished case of end product. This price is listed in the FNS approved SEPDS and is referred to as the "contract value." 

The contract value of USDA Foods contained in the end product, a 30-pound case of “Double Cheese Pizza” = $17.20

USDA Foods Mozzarella Cheese 8 lbs. x $1.9231 = $15.38

USDA Foods Tomato Paste 1.60 lbs. x $0.6841 = $1.09

USDA Foods Flour 2.18 lbs. x $0.3332 = $0.73

Total value of USDA Foods/case $15.38 + $1.09 + $0.73 = $17.20

  • The SFA contracted with a distributor to deliver the “Double Cheese Pizza.”
  • The commercial price of the “Double Cheese Pizza” is $40.00/case.
  • Plus, add the distributor’s fixed fee for storage and delivery, $3.00/case.
  • The SFA would pay the distributor $25.80/case ($43.00 - $17.20).

The List of Materials report which provides an estimated price per pound, per case, and per truck for all USDA Foods for SY 2022-2023 is available here.

State Distributing Agency representatives and processors have access to PartnerWeb. To request access, Processors can send a request to  SDAs can email Clarissa Sheltraw at

Conference Clips


USDA State Agency Meeting

USDA looks forward to hosting our State Agency partners in Arlington, VA, on December 5-8, 2022, to provide an opportunity to share information and collaborate. Online registration is no longer open, but walk-in registration is available. Please contact if you need more information. The conference schedule is packed with great information and dynamic sessions. The USDA Foods team plans to host a pre-conference session and two breakout sessions that will highlight specific USDA Foods issues and ideas.  We hope to see many of our State partners in attendance!  Click here for more detailed information about the conference. 

Technology Synopsis

Improvements to WBSCM Notifications

With the August, September, and October releases, the Web-based Supply Chain Management (WBSCM) system has improved notifications to provide more information and reduce the need to generate reports for additional information for follow-up:

  • Order Change Notification: The Order Change Notification emails display additional information about the Ship-To location (ID, name, city, and state) for each listed sales order. When the Ship-To is changed on a sales order, the old and new information is provided.
  • Missing Goods Receipt (GR) Notification: The Missing GR Notification emails now display the program as well as more detailed Ship-To information (ID, name, city, and state) to facilitate SDA follow-up inquiries about missing goods receipts.

As a reminder, users who do not need to receive these notifications can opt out via the Admin > Manage Users > Maintain User Profile transaction.

Additionally, the Consolidation Workbench has been improved to make it easier to identify and select a new delivery location. Instead of requiring the user to select a new Ship-To solely by its ID number, WBSCM now displays a pop-up window with the Ship-To BP ID, Ship-To Name, City, and State for each available delivery site. Each column can be sorted or filtered, as needed.

WBSCM Ship-To Selection in Consolidation Workbench

All monthly changes are documented in the Release Notes, which may be accessed in WBSCM at Help > Training > Release Notes.

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

How to Stay in the Know with USDA Foods

1. Click here to review or modify your subscription preferences. 

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"

*USDA Foods in Schools --> receive "Spotlight on Schools"

To receive webinar announcements, scroll down to the Webinars category and select your program(s) of interest.

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!

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