USDA purchasing up to US$2.2M of small fresh Bartlett pears for federal food assistance programs

WASHINGTON , November 29, 2011 (press release) – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s intention to purchase up to $2.2 million of small fresh Bartlett pears, sizes 110 through 150, for federal food assistance programs.

“With this potential purchase, USDA provides welcome assistance to thousands of families in these challenging economic times,” said Vilsack. “USDA is committed to ensuring that all families in the United States have access to nutritious foods, which help them stay healthy, active and able to win their future.”

USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) purchases a variety of high-quality food products each year to support the National School Lunch Program, the School Breakfast Program, the Summer Food Service Program, the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations, the Commodity Supplemental Food Program and The Emergency Food Assistance Program. USDA also makes emergency food purchases for distribution to victims of natural disasters.

Government food experts work to ensure that all purchased food is healthful and nutritious. Food items are required to be low in fat, sugar and sodium. The commodities must meet specified requirements and be certified to ensure quality. AMS purchases only products of 100 percent domestic origin.

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