Food Distribution Program
Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Nebraska Food Distribution Program?

What is TLS?

What is PAL?

What is the difference between PAL and Entitlement?

How is PAL/Entitlement figured?

How do I figure cost of USDA donated foods?

How can I tell when a product has gone out of condition?  Is there a single date I can refer to?

Where can I find nutrition information for USDA donated foods?


What is the Nebraska Food Distribution Program?   The Nebraska Food Distribution Program is the Distributing Agency for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), the Child and Adult Care Feeding Program (CACFP), the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP). 

 
The Food Distribution Program utilizes a request driven ordering system to determine foods to be stocked in the state contracted warehouse.  There are two basic types of donated foods, brown box and processed.  Brown box items are offered to all states by the USDA.  DHHS conducts an annual survey to determine which brown box items from the full list of USDA foods are in demand. The foods in demand are made available to recipient agencies via the annual Brown Box survey.  Processed items are made available to recipient agencies via a monthly survey. Processed items are made from raw USDA foods that are diverted to processors that are participating in the National Processing demonstration project established by the USDA. Processors are contracted by DHHS based primarily on marketability and acceptability of the items produced.  Recipient agencies then provide feedback to help determine which items are made available through the state warehouse.  DHHS has partnered with the Nebraska School Nutrition Association and has incorporated the annual NSNA food show as an opportunity for recipients to test end products.


Agencies eligible for USDA foods are schools, child/adult care feeding programs, nutrition programs for the elderly, charitable institutions, summer food service programs, and summer camps. USDA foods may also be used for mass feeding during times of disasters and situations of distress.

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What is TLS?   "Total Lunches and Suppers" is the total number of reimbursable meals served in your lunch program during a program year as determined by the Nebraska Department of Education.

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What is PAL? "Planned Assistance Level" is the dollar amount guaranteed to be offered to your agency based on your TLS from meal counts turned into the Department of Education for the previous school year.  

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What is the difference between PAL and entitlement?  PAL and entitlement are the same thing. 

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How is PAL/Entitlement figured?    An estimated entitlement will be distributed in February in CNPweb so that you can place orders on the Brown Box survey at that time.  In most years an adjustment will be made to reflect the actual USDA meal rate. In July the USDA sets the meal rate ($.24 + $.0569 for the 2014-2015 school year).  This rate is multiplied by your number of prior year TLS as reported to the Department of Education.  For example, a total number of meals served for 2013-14 = 21,331 x the USDA reimbursement of $.2969 = $6269.18 entitlement for school year 2014-15.

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How do I figure cost of USDA donated foods?  After logging on to CNPweb under the ‘Reports’ tab on run the report titled “Product Cost Per Serving”.  This report does not take distribution charges into account since we don’t know if you will be picking up the items, having them delivered or in the case of brown box, having them delivered to your own warehouse directly from the USDA (1/4 truck load minimum).

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How can I tell when a product has gone out of condition? Is there a single date I can refer to?  The USDA provides valuable "Best If Used By Guidance" at http://www.fns.usda.gov/food-safety/food-safety   
   

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Where can I find nutrition information for USDA donated foods? The USDA provides Nutrition Information at http://www.fns.usda.gov/fdd/frequently-asked-questionsfact-sheets. We also maintain nutrition information for processed items under the ‘Summary’ tab on CNPweb.  

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