Getting Started with USDA Foods

Pre-eligibility Information for USDA Foods
There are four programs within the Commodity Operations Section: three USDA Foods Programs, including Food Distribution Program (FDP), The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) and Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), as well as Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) and the Senior Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP).

The FDP, TEFAP and CSFP are USDA federal programs designed to improve the nutritional quality of the diets of program participants, and support agriculture through price supports and removal of food surpluses.

The FMNP and SFMNP utilize farmers to increase consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables and provide opportunities for farmers to sell their produce locally.

Food Distribution Program
Public, charter and private schools as well as residential child care institutions (RCCIs) participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) are eligible to receive an entitlement dollar amount of USDA Foods based on the number of reimbursable lunches served during the previous school year multiplied by the federal rate of assistance per meal. NSLP and School Breakfast Program (SBP) operators may opt to:
  • Use USDA Foods for the Seamless Summer Option (SSO) if implemented.
  • Send USDA Foods to processors for further processing.

Sponsors eligible to receive USDA Foods under the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) include:
  • Sponsors preparing meals on site or at a central kitchen.
  • Sponsors purchasing meals from a school food authority (SFA) that participates in NSLP.
  • SFA sponsors that procure their SFSP meals from the same FSMC that competitively provided their most recent NSLP and/or SBP meals.

TEFAP reduces hunger in Texas by distributing, through local food banks, a portion of the United States agricultural surplus to low-income households, unemployed individuals and organizations that serve meals to low-income persons. You may be eligible to participate as a TEFAP contractor if you are a non-profit organization or a public agency and have an established network for food distribution within the state.

The CSFP helps improve the health of persons 60 and older with distributions of nutritionally balanced USDA-donated food. The program is administered through the local food banks. You may be eligible as a CSFP contractor if you are a non-profit organization or a public agency.

You must demonstrate adequate administrative and financial responsibility to manage an efficient and effective distribution system to be considered a potential FMNP or SFMNP contractor. For SFMNP, consideration will be given to the poverty level of seniors and the number of certified farmers markets in the selected geographical contract area, and to the organizations best suited to make maximum use of the caseload availability.

While participation in some of these programs is limited, if you are interested in any of these programs and believe your organization or company is eligible to participate, please contact the Commodity Operations Section at or (877) TEX-MEAL.

Assistance available in English and Spanish. Please call 877-TEX-MEAL (877-839-6325) for help. Additional translations services available as well.

In accordance with federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation), disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity.

Program information may be made available in languages other than English. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication to obtain program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language), should contact the responsible state or local agency that administers the program or USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.

To file a program discrimination complaint, a Complainant should complete a Form AD-3027, USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form which can be obtained online at:, from any USDA office, by calling (866) 632-9992, or by writing a letter addressed to USDA. The letter must contain the complainant’s name, address, telephone number, and a written description of the alleged discriminatory action in sufficient detail to inform the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights (ASCR) about the nature and date of an alleged civil rights violation. The completed AD-3027 form or letter must be submitted to USDA by:

1. Mail:
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; or
2. Fax: (833) 256-1665 or (202) 690-7442; or
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