The National School Lunch Program and the food chain, Part I

Have you ever considered the magnitude of the National School Lunch Program (NSLP)? It was huge even before it was expanded to include summer programs, breakfast meals and, at some locations, food and snacks for after-school child care. [emember_protected custom_msg=”Click here and register now to read the rest of the article!”]

To help illustrate the size of the program, Adams Cold Storage (ACS) distributed more than 212,000 cases (7,008,806 pounds) of products destined for recipient agencies and school food systems in 24 Florida counties this past year. (Our most-capable CSR, Elizabeth Semenchuck, alone processed nearly 4,000 individual orders for 61 accounts!).

That’s an average of about 8,833 cases, or about 292,034 pounds, worth of NSLP products for each of those 24 Florida counties. Though the math might not be perfect, multiply those averages times the approximately 3,140 county equivalents in the United States and, well, you get the idea about the amount of processed and commodity food products being shipped each year throughout the country to feed school children.

Not only is the NSLP huge, the quality-control standards for the program — from initial manufacturing, through shipping and storage, and through final preparation and serving to children — are extremely high, and enforcement is very strict.  The standards are even stricter than those for commercial food products and products destined for your grocery store shelves and freezers. For that, we can thank the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, through its Food Safety and Inspection Service, and the Agricultural Marketing Service.

Next issue, we’ll go into deeper details about the strict quality-control standards for the NSLP, and how facilities like ACS play a vital role in this process.

CREDITS

column by BEN ADAMS, JR.

BIO: Ben Adams, Jr. is an owner and president of Adams Cold Storage, LLC. He has been directly involved in citrus production, warehousing and distribution, as well as state and community support since 1980. His current facility incorporates 200,000 square feet of multi-temperature warehousing, with an extensive expansion plan on the horizon.
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