The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Distribution Programs are administered through the New Jersey Department of Agriculture (NJDA). The State of New Jersey programs that benefit from Food Distribution are the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), School Breakfast Program (SBP), The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), and Summer Food Service Program (SFSP).
The New Jersey Food Distribution Program provides more than 40 million pounds of USDA food commodities, valued at nearly $44 million dollars, to over 1,000 recipient agencies and feeding programs. The choices range from beef and chicken, fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables, fish, dairy, grains, and other proteins. These commodities are offered in raw bulk or processed form at the request of the recipient agencies.
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The USDA Food and Nutrition Service Food Distribution Programs’ mission is to strengthen the Nation’s nutrition safety net by providing food and nutrition assistance to school children and families; and support American agriculture by distributing high quality, 100 percent American-grown USDA Foods.
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Click here for the list of available USDA Foods
The NJDA Programs that utilize USDA Foods are:
Certain foods made available by the USDA are difficult to use by the recipient agency food service operation in their basic form and, at certain times, more of a commodity food is available than can readily be used by recipient agencies. In order to make these commodities more conveniently available, NJDA contracts with commercial food processors who use the USDA commodity as ingredients in the production of a finished product.
For example, bulk cheese is not a desirable commodity to most schools. Therefore, the NJDA contracts with a processor to use the cheese as an ingredient in frozen pizza. The pizza is then sold by the processor directly to the recipient agency at a cost reduced by the value of the USDA cheese used in the product.
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The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) was designed to distribute federally-donated food to eligible, needy persons throughout the country. Since 1982, the New Jersey Department of Agriculture has administered TEFAP in New Jersey, offering over 70 choices such as beef and chicken, fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables, fish, dairy, grains and other proteins.
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The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Department of Defense (DoD) Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program allows schools to use USDA Foods entitlement dollars to buy fresh produce. The program is operated by the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) at the Department of Defense. In school year (SY) 1994-1995, the project began as a pilot program with eight states participating. New Jersey joined this effort in 1995 through its Food Distribution Program.
Currently the DoD Program in New Jersey distributes more than 6.7 million pounds of fresh produce during the school year. All produce is required to be grown in the United States. Vendors are encouraged to provide local products in season. Local produce must be priced competitively and meet contract requirements for quality; therefore, supporting New Jersey’s peach, blueberry, tomato, cucumber, pepper, lettuce growers.
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