Operations

New AMS Beef Specs to Take Effect

Under the new specs, finished products will continue to be tested for Salmonella and E. coli0157:H7. Products that test positive will be excluded from purchases. Also, testing will be extended to raw materials at slaughter and de-boning facilities, including trim, to provide greater assurance of product quality before grinding. Contractor eligibility to supply ground beef items to USDA will become contingent on good product and plant sanitation practices as measured by ongoing test results.

In addition, the new spec will set an average fat content level of 15% for ground beef items—or an average reduction of two percentage points from current fat levels—except for lean ground beef patties which remain at 10% fat content.

FRUIT AND VEGETABLE PILOT

USDA says that some 80% of students expressed great interest in its recently concluded Fruit and Vegetable Pilot Program (FVPP), authorized by the 2002 Farm Act (see participant comments in May 15, 2003, FSD Commodities Alert, p. 54). The FVPP provided fresh and dried fruits and fresh vegetables to children during non-lunch periods in 100 elementary and secondary schools in four states (Indiana, Iowa, Michigan and Ohio), as well as on one Indian reservation. USDA's evaluation, just released, indicates that 100 of the 105 schools participating believe it is feasible to continue the pilot, if funding is made available. However, many pilot schools said the 10% limit on nonfood costs was too restrictive. Because of the success of the program and availability of additional funds from the original project, legislation has been introduced to extend the program until the end of SY 2003-'04.

FRESH APPLES

As per USDA's announcement of a 39.1-million-lb. surplus-removal buy of fruits and vegetables (see below, right), the agency is seeking offers from the trade for 83,160 cases of fresh apples. Packaging: 37/40-lb. cartons to a shipping container. Pack size: 113s or smaller. Deliveries: July 7-August 27.

APRICOT PRODUCTS

As part of the surplus fruit and vegetable buy, USDA also is out to buy 89,300 cases of 20-lb. frozen sliced apricots for delivery July 15-December 15, and 168,720 cases of 6/10 canned apricots for delivery July 1-December 15.

CHICKEN AND CHICKEN PRODS.

USDA has begun its chicken and chicken products purchases for school lunch and other programs for the new school year. Offers will be invited from the trade for the following items: frozen chicken breast quarters and leg quarters produced from ready-to-cook broiler/fryers; frozen cut-up chickens, 8 pieces, without necks and giblets; frozen cooked batter/breaded cut-up chickens, 8 pieces; bulk pack, small, for further processing, from chilled ready-to-cook broiler/fryers without necks and giblets—frozen may be specified; frozen drumsticks, weighing a minimum of 4.15 oz. each, or produced from ready-to-cook broiler /fryers weighing a minimum 3.70 lbs.; bulk pack, large, for further processing, from chilled ready-to-cook broiler/fryers weighing more than 3.75 lbs. without necks and giblets—frozen may be specified; frozen leg quarters 9-13 ozs. each; frozen chicken thighs with back portions weighing 4.80-9.30 ozs. each; frozen thighs with back portions weighing 4.80-9.30 ozs. each; chilled leg quarters, bulk packed for further processing; chilled thighs, bulk packed for further processing; and chilled drumsticks, bulk packed for further processing. First invitations are out. Delivery: July 1-15.

TURKEY AND TURKEY PRODUCTS

USDA has begun its turkey and turkey products program for school lunch and other domestic programs for the new school year. Offers will be invited from the trade for the following items: bulk pack for further processing, from chilled young turkeys without necks and giblets, non-basted—frozen may be specified; frozen ready-to-cook turkey roasts weighing not less than 8 lbs. nor more than 12 lbs.; frozen smoked turkey hams produced from non-basted, young ready-to-cook turkey thigh meat weighing not less than 9 lbs. nor more than 11 lbs., vacuum-packed, or, as an option, stuffed into cook-in-film bags; and frozen consumer-pack turkey. Delivery: July 16-31.

EGG PRODUCTS

USDA has announced its whole egg program for school lunch and other domestic programs for the new school year. Offers will be invited from the trade for whole eggs in one or more of the following forms: 30-lb. containers of frozen whole eggs (without color stabilizer) packed in a full opening-type plastic container with snap-on lid, 30 lbs.; 5-lb. cartons of frozen homogenized whole eggs with color stabilizer in a pitcher-pour, polyethylene-coated paperboard carton; bulk liquid whole eggs without color stabilizer for further processing. Delivery: July 16-31.

REPROCESSING BEEF

USDA has purchased 5.3 mil. lbs. of frozen ground beef for reprocessing. Shipments are to be made in two periods between July 1-31. USDA also is out for fine-ground patties, for delivery July 1-31. This year's frozen beef purchases are nearing an end. Purchases since program inception June 20, 2002, include: 61.3 mil. lbs. of reprocessing beef; 57.8 mil. lbs. of fine-ground; 6.2 mil. lbs. of VPP patties; 4.2 mil. lbs. of 100% patties; 1.8 mil. lbs. of lean patties; and 6.1 mil. lbs. of fine ground (1-lb.).

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