7 CFR 251.4 - Availability of commodities.
(a) General. The Department shall make commodities available for distribution and use in accordance with the provisions of this part and also in accordance with the terms and conditions of part 250 of this chapter to the extent that the part 250 terms and conditions are not inconsistent with this part.
(b) Displacement. State agencies shall require that eligible recipient agencies receiving commodities under this part shall not diminish their normal expenditures for food because of receipt of commodities. Additionally, the Secretary shall withhold commodities from distribution if it is determined that the commodities would substitute for the same or a similar product that would otherwise be purchased in the market.
(1) Allocations of commodities shall be made to State agencies on the basis of the formula defined in § 251.3(h).
(2) FNS shall promptly notify State agencies regarding their allocation of commodities to be made available under this part.
(3) State agencies shall notify the appropriate FNSRO of the amount of the commodities they will accept not later than 30 days prior to the beginning of the shipping period.
(4) FNS will make allocations of donated commodity or food funding available to State agencies for two fiscal years. States will be allowed to carry over unexpended balances of donated food funding from one fiscal year into the next fiscal year.
(5) A State's donated food funding allocation remaining at the end of the fiscal year after the fiscal year in which it was initially appropriated will expire and will be unavailable to the State.
(d) Quantities requested. State agencies shall:
(1) Request commodities only in quantities which can be utilized without waste in providing food assistance to needy persons under this part;
(2) Ensure that no eligible recipient agency receives commodities in excess of anticipated use, based on inventory records and controls, or in excess of its ability to accept and store such commodities; and
(e) Initial processing and packaging. The Department will furnish commodities to be distributed to institutions and to needy persons in households in forms and units suitable for institutional and home use.
(f) Bulk processing by States. Commodities may be made available to a State agency or, at the direction of the State agency, directly to private companies for processing bulk commodities for use by eligible recipient agencies.
(1) The Department will reimburse the State agency at the current flat rate for such processing.
(2) Minimum yields and product specifications established by the Department shall be met by the processor.
(3) The State shall require the processor to meet State and local health standards.
(4) Processors and State agencies shall also meet the basic minimum requirements of § 250.30.
(g) Distribution and control of donated commodities. The State agency must ensure that the distribution, control, and use of donated commodities are in accordance with the requirements in this part, and with the requirements in 7 CFR part 250, to the extent that requirements in 7 CFR part 250 are not inconsistent with the requirements in this part. Transfers of donated commodities must comply with requirements in §§ 250.12(e) and 250.14(d), as applicable. In accordance with § 250.16, the State agency must ensure that restitution is made for the loss of donated commodities, or for the loss or improper use of funds provided for, or obtained as an incidence of, the distribution of donated commodities. The State agency is also subject to claims for such losses for which it is responsible, or for its failure to initiate or pursue claims against other parties responsible for such losses.
(h) Distribution to eligible recipient agencies - priority system and advisory boards.
(1) State agencies must distribute commodities made available under this part to eligible recipient agencies in accordance with the following priorities:
(i) First priority. When a State agency cannot meet all eligible recipient agencies' requests for TEFAP commodities, the State agency must give priority in the distribution of such commodities to emergency feeding organizations as defined under § 251.3(e). A State agency may, at its discretion, concentrate commodity resources upon a certain type or types of such organizations, to the exclusion of others.
(ii) Second priority. After a State agency has distributed TEFAP commodities sufficient to meet the needs of all emergency feeding organizations, the State agency must distribute any remaining program commodities to other eligible recipient agencies which serve needy people, but do not relieve situations of emergency and distress. A State agency may, at its discretion, concentrate commodity resources upon a certain type or types of such organizations, to the exclusion of others.
(2) Delegation. When a State agency has delegated to an eligible recipient agency the authority to select other eligible recipient agencies, the eligible recipient agency exercising this authority must ensure that any TEFAP commodities are distributed in accordance with the priority system set forth in paragraphs (h)(1)(i) and (h)(1)(ii) of this section. State agencies and eligible recipient agencies will be deemed to be in compliance with the priority system when eligible recipient agencies distribute TEFAP commodities to meet the needs of all emergency feeding organizations under their jurisdiction prior to making commodities available to eligible recipient agencies which are not emergency feeding organizations.
(3) Existing networks. Subject to the constraints of paragraphs (h)(1)(i) and (h)(1)(ii) of this section, State agencies may give priority in the distribution of TEFAP commodities to existing food bank networks and other organizations whose ongoing primary function is to facilitate the distribution of food to low-income households, including food from sources other than the Department.
(4) State advisory boards. Each State agency receiving TEFAP commodities is encouraged to establish a State advisory board representing all types of entities in the State, both public and private, interested in the distribution of such commodities. Such advisory boards can provide valuable advice on how resources should be allocated among various eligible outlet types, what areas have the greatest need for food assistance, and other important issues that will help States to use their program resources in the most efficient and effective manner possible. A State agency may expend TEFAP administrative funds to support the activities of an advisory board in accordance with § 251.8 of this part.
(i) Distribution of non-USDA foods. Eligible recipient agencies may incorporate the distribution of foods which have been donated by charitable organizations or other entities with the distribution of USDA-donated commodities or distribute them separately.
(j) Interstate cooperation. State agencies may enter into interagency cooperative agreements to provide jointly or to transfer commodities to an eligible recipient agency that has signed an agreement with the respective State agencies when such organization serves needy persons in a contiguous area which crosses States' borders.
(k) Distribution in rural areas. State agencies shall encourage eligible recipient agencies to implement or expand commodity distribution activities to relieve situations of emergency and distress through the provision of commodities to needy households in rural areas of the State.