January 6, 2014

USDA Purchased Crops for Needy Families and Urges Farm Bill Passage

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack TODAY announced the USDA’S intent to purchase up to $126.4 million worth of fruit and vegetable products, to be distributed to needy families under The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP).

"Food distribution programs are a vital part of our Nation's nutrition safety net, and today's food purchases will give communities additional means to help those in need," Vilsack said. "A comprehensive Farm Bill is absolutely critical to these efforts, and Congress should adequately support feeding programs for American families by passing a new Farm Bill as soon as possible."

The USDA purchase is part of the surplus removal program that helps stabilize prices in agricultural commodity markets by balancing supply and demand, while providing healthy food to soup kitchens, food pantries, and community action agencies across the country.

USDA’s purchases will include tart cherries, processed apples, cranberries, fresh tomatoes, wild blueberries, and raisins, and expand efforts to provide high-quality, wholesome, domestically produced foods.

A recent analysis found that TEFAP foods achieved a score 89 out of 100 on the Health Eating Index, a measure of diet quality based on the Federal Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

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