Bureau of Food Distribution
lunchbx2.jpg (15201 bytes)School Lunch Program

The National School Lunch Program is a federal meal program administered by the U.S. Department of  Agriculture (USDA).
It allows children in public and non-profit private schools and residential child care institutions to receive nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free lunches. As part of NSLP, schools receive USDA commodity foods that are used in the preparation of the students' meals. In Florida, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS) is responsible for providing these USDA commodities to the schools.

School Lunch Program


At the beginning of each calendar year, schools are given the opportunity to put in their "order" for the types and quantities of commodities they would like to receive during the next school year. The variety of commodities schools can get from USDA depends on quantities available and market prices. Starting in February, DACS' staff places the orders with the USDA on behalf of the schools and designates the delivery periods contingent on available shipping dates, truck loading requirements, etc. Schools can choose to have their commodities delivered to a state-contracted warehouse, their own or privately contracted warehouse, or, in the case of some bulk items, diverted to a processor to be made into a more user friendly or acceptable product. 

To be eligible to receive commodities, the school must be approved by the Florida Department of Education <http://www.fldoe.org> for participation in the National School Lunch Program. Once approved for NSLP, the school can apply to DACS for participation in the commodity program. The commodity entitlement is based on the average daily number (ADP) of lunches served by the entity. Because commodities are ordered and allocated in the spring for the following school year, a school must have an agreement with DACS by that time to fully benefit from the commodity program.


Processing Program
Loss/Claim Procedures
Recipient Agency Manual 
The USDA National School Lunch Program
Facts About USDA Commodities for Schools and Institutions (by Food Group)
Simmons Commodity Ordering System
(For Programs Only - Password Required - Access to the Donated Foods On-Line Service )
Other Related Links


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