Los Angeles USD has received approval for a change in the way the district purchases and distributes commodities (for more, see this story). The action will allow LAUSD to request commodities in only a handful of categories and in bulk, raw, farm-level form that USDA will procure for the district’s commercial processors. In addition, LAUSD will be allowed to use some of its Section 4 and 11 meal reimbursement monies to increase its commodity entitlement.
“What this means is that we won’t be getting brown boxes any more,” says LAUSD Nutrition Services Director Dennis Barrett. “We’re going to devote the money the government gives us as entitlement to the items that will give us the best value for our menu: beef, chicken, turkey and potatoes. By doing that, we’re going to get the same commercial product all year long and we won’t have to tell a vendor, ‘Well, I don’t know how much product we’re going to get…’ So we won’t have to go out for double bids in the future. And because the vendor gets bulk raw grade commodities, they can put it right in the pipeline. They don’t have to get a brown box from somebody else.”
Barrett estimates savings of $10-$15 million once the changes become fully operative.