WASHINGTON, April 30, 2010 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced USDA’s plan to purchase $161.4 million in a wide variety of foods for federal food and nutrition assistance programs.
The purchases will be for up to $40 million of beef products; $2 million of lamb products; $5 million of catfish; $32 million of fresh and processed apple products; $1.1 million of blackberries; $21 million of red tart cherries; $18 million of cranberry products; $5 million of dried figs; $9.3 million of dried plums; $18 million of potatoes; $7 million of strawberries; and $3 million of fresh and canned pears.
A number of economic factors have led to surpluses, so these purchases will help alleviate the stress caused by higher inventories and low prices that farmers and ranchers are receiving for their commodities. In addition, these food purchases will help support local food banks and other national nutrition programs by providing a wide variety of products. Products include 100% fruit juices, fresh and processed apple products, and lean meat products.
The USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) purchases a wide variety of food products each year to support the National School Lunch Program, the School Breakfast Program, the Summer Food Service Program, and the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations, the Commodity Supplemental Food Program and The Emergency Food Assistance Program. USDA also makes emergency food purchases for distribution to victims of natural disasters.
Government food experts work to ensure that all purchased food is healthful and nutritious. Food items are required to meet limits on fat, sugar and sodium. Canned fruit products must be packaged in light or extra-light syrup, or fruit juice. The food items also must meet specified grade requirements and be USDA-certified to ensure quality. AMS purchases only products of 100 percent domestic origin.
Originally published at the USDA Agricultural Marketing Services website.