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USDA Purchases Millions in Seafood for Food Assistance Programs

The USDA has announced it will purchase domestically produced seafood, fruits, legumes, and nuts for food assistance programs.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced it will purchase up to $159.4 million in domestically produced seafood, fruits, legumes, and nuts for distribution to a variety of domestic food assistance programs, including charitable institutions. 

These purchases are being made utilizing funds under the authority of Section 32 of the Agricultural Adjustment Act (PL 74-320), as amended (Section 32). This is one of many actions USDA is taking to address the disruptions in the food system supply chain and worsened food insecurity resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The impacts of COVID-19 reverberated from our farms to our oceans,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “U.S. fisheries and the American seafood industry were dealt a heavy blow. Today, USDA is pleased to make the largest single seafood purchase in the Department’s history. These healthy, nutritious food purchases will benefit food banks and non-profits helping those struggling with food hardship as the Biden Administration works to get the economy back on track for American families.”

Selected commodities include: Alaska pollock, apricots (canned, dried, and frozen), chickpeas, dry peas, Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic wild-caught shrimp, lentils, navy beans, Pacific pink shrimp, Pacific rockfish fillets, Pacific whiting fillets, pistachios, prepared peaches, and sockeye (red) salmon. The inventories of these commodities are in high oversupply due to a decrease in demand because of the COVID-19 pandemic and disruption in the supply chain, as restaurants and other outlets closed during the pandemic. This is the largest purchase of U.S. raised seafood by the USDA to date.

Within a few days of approval, USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service will offer these commodities to their networks. Orders should be received during the first week of June with solicitations being issued mid-June and awards occurring near the end of the month. Deliveries should start to occur by mid-August.

Solicitations will be available electronically through the Web-Based Supply Chain Management (WBSCM) system and on the Agricultural Marketing Service's website at www.ams.usda.gov/selling-food. To be eligible to submit offers, potential contractors must meet the AMS vendor qualification requirements and be domestic operations.

The purchase amounts are as follows:

Products Approved Amount
Alaska Pollock
Apricots (Canned, Dried, And Frozen)
Dry Peas
Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic Wild-Caught Shrimp
Navy Beans
Pacific Pink Shrimp
Pacific Rockfish Fillets
Pacific Whiting Fillets
Prepared Peaches
Sockeye (Red) Salmon
$20 Million
$6.5 Million
$10 Million
$10 Million
$25 Million
$10 Million
$4 Million
$4 Million
$4 Million
$9 Million
$40 Million
$8 Million
$8.9 Million
Total $159.4 Million

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