USDA to purchase up to $23 million in fruit for federal nutrition assistance programs

By Melissa Coon

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

Washington, July 15 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA intends to purchase up to $23 million in peach products and mixed fruit for federal nutrition assistance programs.

“These purchases will assist peach and mixed fruit producers, who are currently struggling due to depressed market conditions,” said Vilsack. “Today’s actions will help stabilize prices and markets, stimulate the economy and provide high quality, nutritious food to schools and food banks.”

USDA intends to purchase up to $18 million of canned Clingstone peaches and mixed fruit in light syrup or fruit juice, along with up to $5 million of frozen peaches for federal assistance programs. The Department will seek the lowest overall cost by surveying potential suppliers and publicly inviting bids to assure they are awarded to responsible bidders.

Each year, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) purchases a variety of high-quality, nutritious food products to support the National School Lunch Program, the School Breakfast Program, the Summer Food Service Program, 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.

To ensure that all purchased food is healthy and nutritious, food items are required to be low in fat, sugar and sodium. The commodities must also meet specified grade requirements and be USDA-certified. AMS purchases only products of 100 percent domestic origin.

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