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USDA TO PURCHASE $126 MILLION OF FRUITS, VEGETABLES
Des Moines Register reports:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture said Monday it intends to purchase up to $126.4 million worth of fruit and vegetable products that will be distributed to needy families under its Emergency Food Assistance Program.

Items distributed through the food assistance program are either purchased with funds appropriated specifically for it, or are procured through USDA's market support programs. The foods are provided to states for distribution to local agencies, such as food banks that distribute the food to food pantries and soup kitchens,

USDA said it plans to purchase tart cherries, processed apples, cranberries, fresh tomatoes, wild blueberries, and raisins. This purchase will expand efforts to provide high-quality, wholesome, domestically-produced foods to support low-income families in need of emergency food assistance.

"Food distribution programs are a vital part of our Nation's nutrition safety net, and today's food purchases will give communities additional means to help those in need," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said.

The purchase announced today is part of the surplus removal program, which allows USDA to purchase foods in order to help stabilize prices in agricultural commodity markets by balancing supply and demand, while providing healthy food to low-income households.


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