This Week's Top Story



This Week's Other Stories:

USDA’s Dairy Product Purchases Could Use More Variety

Dairy Promotion Programs Increased Dairy Product Demand: USDA Report

US Artisan Cheese Makers Team Up To Create ‘Victory Cheese Box’ Series

GUEST COLUMNISTS: Outlook More Optimistic Than Last Month by Bob Cropp

COMPANY PROFILE: Mozzarella Company’s ‘Bright Spot’ In Crisis Is Sales To Grocers, Keeping Staff


Truths Emerge in COVID-19’s Upheaval by John Umhoefer

As Food Safety Changes Course, Need for A Strong Workforce is Constant by Jen Pino-Gallagher, M3 Insurance

How To Achieve
SQF Certification by Brandis Wasvick, Blue Compass Compliance

The Grow or Die Myth by Dan Strongin

‘Sir, There’s a Minnow in my Muenster’:
Recall Insurance Past And Present by Jim Brunker, M3 Insurance

Boots On The Ground
by Jim Cisler

As FSMA Takes Full Effect, Partnership Opportunities Abound To Improve Food Safety Practices by Larry Bell and Jim Mueller


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Awarding Of Contracts Under USDA Food Box Program Raises Questions

Three House Agriculture Committee subcommittee chairs last Friday formally requested information from US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue on USDA’s Farmers to Families Food Box Program.

The request was sent to Perdue by US Reps. Marcia L. Fudge (D-OH), chair of the nutrition, oversight and department operations subcommittee; Jim Costa (D-CA), chair of the livestock and foreign agriculture subcommittee; and Stacey Plaskett (D-VI), chair of the biotechnology, horticulture, and research subcommittee.

USDA earlier this month approved $1.2 billion in contracts under the Farmers to Families Food Box Program. Through the program, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is partnering with national, regional and local suppliers to purchase up to $3 billion in dairy and meat products as well as fresh produce. The program will purchase $317 million in a variety of dairy products.

Suppliers will package these products into family-sized boxes, then transport them to food banks, community and faith-based organizations, and other non-profits serving Americans in need from May 15 through June 30, 2020. AMS may elect to extend the period of performance of the contracts, via option periods, depending on program success and available remaining funds, up to $3 billion.

Under the program, offerors were required to submit proposals in four parts: technical information, including how they plan to effectively distribute commodities they provide to non-profit organizations; the capabilities offerors have for achieving performance under the contract; past performance references for similar contract/orders completed within the past three years; and pricing, specific product, delivery schedule and constraint information.

In their letter to Perdue, Fudge, Costa and Plaskett said they were concerned that “contracts were awarded to entities with little to no experience in agriculture or food distribution and with little capacity to meet the

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