USDA Foods

Commodities in the National School Lunch Program


A boon to both school districts and agricultural producers, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foods (formerly referred to as commodities) are U.S. foods purchased by the USDA, which are provided to schools at minimal cost (there are administrative, storage, delivery, and processing fees). Because of the federal government’s enormous purchasing power, USDA Foods are often lower in cost than similar products a school could purchase on its own.

What are USDA Foods? How do schools get USDA Foods? What is the value of USDA Foods to school districts? How does USDA Food processing affect the nutritional quality of school meals? Find out more by downloading our fact sheet.