WASHINGTON, – Marketing and Regulatory Programs Under Secretary Edward Avalos has announced USDA's intent to purchase up to $16 million of wild blueberries for federal food nutrition assistance programs, including food banks."This purchase will assist wild blueberry producers who are currently struggling due to challenging market conditions including domestic oversupply, international competition, and declining prices,” said Avalos. “The purchase will help mitigate further downward prices, stabilize market conditions, and provide high quality, nutritious food to recipients of USDA's nutrition programs."
USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) purchases a variety of high-quality food products each year to support the National School Lunch Program, the School Breakfast Program, the Summer Food Service Program, the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations, the Commodity Supplemental Food Program and the Emergency Food Assistance Program. USDA also makes emergency food purchases for distribution to victims of natural disasters.Government food experts work to ensure that all purchased food is healthful and nutritious. Food items are required to be low in fat, sugar and sodium. The commodities must meet specified requirements and be certified to ensure quality. AMS purchases only products of 100 percent domestic origin. The wild blueberry purchase is based on analyses of current market conditions.