WASHINGTON, May 16, 2005 -- Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns today announced that USDA plans to purchase up to 80 million pounds of frozen and dehydrated potatoes for donation to child nutrition and other domestic food assistance programs.
The purchase would be in addition to up to 100 million pounds of fresh bulk and frozen potatoes that USDA intends to procure this fiscal year for normal school year purchases.
"This purchase will provide our federal food program recipients with nutritious products," said Johanns.
Since the beginning of the current fiscal year which began Oct. 1, 2004, USDA has purchased 31.5 million pounds of fresh, canned, frozen and dehydrated potatoes. USDA purchased 170.2 million pounds of potato products in FY 2004 and 94 million pounds in FY 2003.
USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service purchases a variety of high quality food products each year for distribution by USDA's Food and Nutrition Service for the national school lunch program, the school breakfast program, the summer food service program, the food distribution program on Indian reservations, the nutrition program for the elderly, the commodity supplemental food program and the emergency food assistance program. USDA also makes emergency purchases of commodities for distribution to victims of natural disasters.
More information about USDA programs is available at http://www.usda.gov.