Schools participating in the National School Lunch Program receive a variety of USDA foods in institutional sizes. USDA foods must be of domestic origin, and nearly 60 percent of the food purchased for the Child Nutrition Programs by USDA must be determined by the Department to be in surplus at the time of purchase. USDA foods are intended to supplement the foods purchased by food service personnel.
Each school receives an entitlement amount, which is based on the current per meal rate from USDA multiplied by the total number of lunch meals served during the previous school year. Schools use their entitlement to purchase USDA foods that are offered by CNFD and USDA foods available through manufacturers and distributors and fresh fruits and vegetables offered through the Department of Defense Fresh Fruits and Vegetable Program (DoD FFVP).