FDP National School Lunch

The National School Lunch Program provides cash and commodity assistance to assist schools in providing nutritious lunches to school children. From its inception in 1946, the school lunch program has been making nutritious school meals available to school children for more than 60 years.

USDA provides States with commodities for use in preparing school lunches. The commodity subsidy is based on a “rate per meal” concept similar to that used for cash assistance.

Every dollar’s worth of donated commodities used in a school menu frees up money that a school would otherwise have to spend on food purchases. As school districts face ever tightening budgets, commodities have become a valuable resource to keep local food service budgets in the black. On an average day, commodities make up about 15 to 20 percent of the product served on the school lunch line.

Depending on market conditions, as many as 40 to 60 different commodities may be supplied to participants during the year. The commodities may be frozen, canned, fresh, or dry and include meats, poultry, vegetables, fruits, grains, and dairy products.

Each State’s commodity entitlement is supplemented by donations of “bonus” commodities purchased by USDA. Bonus products are in addition to those received as part of the State’s entitlement and are offered to States throughout the year on a fair-share basis. Bonus purchases are made through USDA’s price support and surplus removal programs in order to help stabilize and support U.S. agricultural markets. Because of the nature of agricultural markets, the type and quantity of bonus commodities purchased each year cannot be predicted in advance.


Files and Links

FDP Administrative Handbook

Delivery Evaluation Form

USDA - Foods Complaint Form

Storage Facility Review Form

CNPWeb Instructions

FFAVORS Web Ordering System

FFAVORS Instructions

FDP Policy Bulletins

USDA - Food Fact Sheets

USDA - Foods Alert System

Best If Used By Dates

USDA - Schools/CN Commodity Programs

USDA - Commodity Food Network

American Commodity Distribution Association