The USDA Commitment to Quality Foods


Posted by Charles Parrott, AMS Fruits and Vegetables Deputy Program Administrator and Dave Tuckwiller, AMS Food and Nutrition Commodity Sourcing Program Manager

February 21, 2017

“We are creating opportunities for American agricultural businesses,” said Casey Wong-Buehler, AMS Product Sourcing Program Specialist. “Trips like this help us ensure that our sourcing requirements provide a realistic framework for our suppliers to successfully deliver quality food.”

Across the country, schools have resumed their classes. Here at the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), our inspectors and procurement specialists work hard to ensure quality, locally produced food is delivered to students and other recipients of our federal purchasing programs. of food. As students get used to their new schedules, we’d like to highlight how our own little field trip brightened up a typical day for some of our employees.

A team of AMS employees recently visited Knouse Foods, a producer-owned cooperative that supplies apple and cranberry products for federal food purchase programs. Employees saw firsthand how USDA inspectors help Knouse and other companies verify the quality of their products. As the applesauce passed through the facility, USDA inspectors took random samples to ensure they met product quality and condition requirements. All USDA foods must be inspected, and in this case inspectors took samples of applesauce to assess characteristics such as color, flavor, and consistency. As an independent third party, inspections help suppliers meet USDA Foods requirements, but they can also help them meet the requirements of other buyers.

The visit also covered another important part of the procurement process: delivery. In addition to the food inspection requirement, all federal food purchasing program contracts require delivery trucks to be inspected. The team had the chance to see this process, called check-loading. USDA inspectors have checked the condition of the trailers, ensuring the trailer is clean, has no holes, and updated inspection codes.

For the commodity sourcing program specialists, the trip allowed them to see how some of the contract provisions are carried out by both vendors and USDA inspectors.

From talking to them about the sourcing process to product specifications and requirements, sourcing specialists are always in constant contact with their suppliers. The recent trip helped specialists see how suppliers are incorporating inspections and check loading into their business plans. They have seen how long it takes to inspect trucks and the impact this has on their deliveries.

All of us here at AMS are proud to play a role in supporting America’s agricultural businesses by ensuring they can provide safe, quality food to our students and other Federal Food Purchase Program recipients. We wish all of our students a great 2015 school year. We encourage businesses to learn more about how our specialty crop inspection division and commodity sourcing program can support their business.

USDA Specialty Crop Inspection Team in a room
“Ensuring the product quality of our USDA foods is extremely important,” said Michael Harutinian, an employee of the USDA’s Specialty Crop Inspection (SCI) division. “Our employees take random samples, helping our suppliers increase their confidence in the quality of their products,” Harutinian said.
Food and nutrition

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