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Title 7: Agriculture
§250.58 Ordering donated foods and their provision to school food authorities.
(a) Ordering and distribution of donated foods. The distributing agency orders donated foods through a Web-based system called the Electronic Commodity Ordering System (ECOS). Through ECOS, the distributing agency places orders directly into a centralized computer system. Before submitting orders for donated foods to FNS, the distributing agency must ensure that all school food authorities are aware of the full list of available donated foods, and have the opportunity to provide input at least annually in determining the donated foods from the full list that are made available to them for ordering or selection. The distributing agency must ensure distribution to school food authorities of all such selected donated foods that may be cost-effectively distributed to them, and may not prohibit the use of split shipments in determining such cost-effectiveness.
(b) Value of donated foods offered to school food authorities. In accordance with Section 6(c) of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1755(c)), the distributing agency must offer the school food authority, at a minimum, the national per-meal value of donated food assistance multiplied by the number of reimbursable lunches served by the school food authority in the previous school year. This is referred to as the commodity offer value. For a commodity school, the distributing agency must offer the sum of the national per-meal value of donated foods and the value of the general cash payment available to it under Section 4 of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (42 U.S.C. 1753), multiplied by the number of reimbursable lunches served by the school in the previous school year. The school food authority may also receive bonus foods, as available, in addition to the Section 6 foods.
(c) Receipt of less donated foods than the commodity offer value. In certain cases, the school food authority may receive less donated foods than the commodity offer value in a school year. This “adjusted” value of donated foods is referred to as the adjusted assistance level. For example, the school food authority may receive an adjusted assistance level if:
(1) The distributing agency, in consultation with the school food authority, determines that the school food authority cannot efficiently utilize the commodity offer value of donated foods; or
(2) The school food authority does not order, or select, donated foods equal to the commodity offer value that can be cost-effectively distributed to it.
(d) Receipt of more donated foods than the commodity offer value. The school food authority may receive more donated foods than the commodity offer value if the distributing agency, in consultation with the school food authority, determines that the school food authority may efficiently utilize more donated foods than the commodity offer value, and more donated foods are available for distribution. This may occur, for example, if other school food authorities receive less than the commodity offer value of donated foods for one of the reasons described in paragraph (c) of this section.
(e) Donated food values required in crediting school food authorities. The distributing agency must use one of the following values for donated foods in crediting the school food authority for its commodity offer value or adjusted assistance level:
(1) The USDA purchase price (cost per pound), which may be an average price for purchases made for the duration of the contract with the food vendor;
(2) Estimated cost-per-pound data provided by the Department, as included in commodity survey memoranda; or
(3) The USDA commodity file cost as of a date specified by the distributing agency.