Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer has announced USDA’s plans to purchase up to $5 million of catfish products. The products will be donated to child nutrition and other domestic food assistance programs.

USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service purchases a variety of high-quality food products each year for distribution by USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service. The products are distributed through the FNS 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 those affected by natural disasters.

Based upon USDA’s intent to buy catfish products, FNS will survey potential recipients to determine how much product will be accepted for shipping. AMS will seek the lowest overall cost by publicly inviting bids to supply the desired quantity and by awarding contracts to responsible bidders.

Government food experts work to ensure that all purchased food is healthful and nutritious. Food items are normally required to be low in fat, sugar and sodium. The commodities must meet specific quality requirements and be inspected by USDA.

AMS purchases only products of 100 percent domestic origin.