Master USDA Commodity Diversion Effectively


United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Commodities are food products that the USDA acquires to support domestic agriculture and provide nutritional assistance to various institutions and programs, including schools. These commodities can include a wide range of items, such as grains, proteins, fruits, vegetables, and dairy products. They are typically distributed to schools in the form of raw ingredients, processed foods, or ready-to-eat items. Learning how to effectively use these commodities for your schools is essential for a successful foodservice operation.

How to Use USDA Commodities Effectively

Access USDA Resources: Familiarize yourself with the USDA’s resources and guidelines for managing USDA Commodities. The USDA provides detailed information on ordering, receiving, storing, and using these products.

Menu Planning: Incorporate USDA Commodities into your menu planning. These commodities can help you diversify your menu and add nutritional value to meals. For example, you can use canned fruits and vegetables, cheese, or whole grains in your recipes.

Quality and Safety: Pay attention to the quality and safety of USDA Commodities. Ensure that the products you receive meet the required standards for nutrition, taste, and safety. If you encounter any issues, contact your local USDA representative.

Inventory Management: Keep track of your USDA Commodities inventory. Implement a robust inventory management system to prevent waste and ensure that you use these products before they expire

Collaborate with Your Distributor: Work closely with your food service distributor to streamline the ordering and delivery process of USDA Commodities. Your distributor can help you navigate the logistics of receiving and storing these products.

Compliance with Regulations: Follow USDA regulations and guidelines regarding the use of these commodities. This may include documentation requirements and compliance with nutrition standards.

Training and Professional Development: Invest in training for your staff to ensure that they are knowledgeable about handling and using USDA Commodities effectively. This can help maximize the benefits of these resources.

Nutritional Planning: Leverage USDA Commodities to enhance the nutritional value of your meals. You can incorporate these products into your school lunch and breakfast programs to meet USDA’s nutritional guidelines.

Feedback and Evaluation: Collect feedback from students and staff to assess the acceptability of the USDA Commodities in your school meals. Use this feedback to make adjustments to your menu and procurement strategies.

Budget Considerations: Take into account the cost savings and budgetary advantages of using USDA Commodities in your food service program. These products can help you stretch your budget while still providing nutritious meals.

Effectively using USDA Commodities in your school food service operation requires careful planning, compliance with regulations, and a commitment to providing nutritious and appealing meals to your students. Collaborating with your food service distributor and staying informed about USDA guidelines is essential to make the most of these valuable resources.

Our Solutions For Your Operation

  • Online Reporting for USDA Commodities – Processed & Non Processed, Entitlement and balances as well as usage.
  • Gordon Ordering displays USDA commodity entitlement balances, usage by GFS Item Code/USDA Material Code
  • Commodity Worksheet Planner
  • End of the Year Commodity Planner

Additional Resources and Information

USDA – Determining School Commodity Entitlements

USDA – Foods in Schools

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