Government food purchasing and service: Model policies and examples

The different types of policy mechanisms

  • Legislation includes federal laws, state laws, and local ordinances passed by the legislative body in the jurisdiction. To be changed, the legislature must vote to amend or repeal the law.  
  • Executive order is a binding decree made by the executive authority (e.g., a state governor) of a jurisdiction that directs a government entity or entities to operate in a certain way. The executive can unilaterally change or rescind an executive order at any time.  
  • Internal agency-level policy is a formal, written policy internal to a government agency (e.g., the Department of Corrections) that is considered mandatory but does not carry the force of law. These policies address agency food procurement, and are distinct from agency exercises of regulatory power through rulemaking and guidance.
  • Resolution is a formal statement of the legislative body in the jurisdiction. Resolutions are not legally binding if passed.  

We strongly recommend pursuing a legally binding mechanism, including legislation or executive order (see model below), to provide the necessary authority to enact and sustain a values-aligned food purchasing and food service policy. We provide examples of legally binding and non-binding mechanisms on this page. Much of the language in each example can be adapted for other mechanisms.  

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Model Policy

Healthy, Values-Aligned Food Service Guidelines (2024)

This CSPI resource includes customizable templates for a state bill and executive order that can easily be adapted for local government as well. Both model policies establish state food standards based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, require all state food service settings to follow the state food standards, and require state agencies to participate in the GFPP. 

See the model bill and executive order
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Model Policy

Template Good Food Purchasing Policy (n.d.)

This is a template resolution from the Center for Good Food Purchasing for a government or public institution to adopt the GFPP. Feel free to draw from this language based on what’s most relevant to your circumstances. Please note this content is based on previously adopted GFPP policies and lessons gleaned from trusted partners also working within procurement to affect systemic change. 

See the template

View Healthier Food on State and Local Property map in a new tab

This map shows, to CSPI’s knowledge, which states, cities, and counties have adopted a nutrition policy and/or values-aligned purchasing policy for foods purchased, served, or sold by public institutions or on public property. They include legislation, resolutions and motions of legislative bodies, executive orders, and administrative policies. Policies specific to K-12 schools are not shown here. This information was not collected systematically. If we’re missing a policy, please let us know at

Select Local, State, and Federal Policy Examples

Below are examples of local, state, and federal food purchasing and food service policies that are either comprehensive in reach (apply to all agencies that purchase food or all facilities that serve food in that jurisdiction) or apply to food service settings that serve dependent populations, such as hospitals and correctional facilities. They vary in the values they address—some address only nutrition or sustainability, while several address all five values of the Good Food Purchasing Program.