WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Agriculture intends to buy up to $14 million worth of dark meat chicken products for federal food nutrition assistance programs, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced June 15.

“The purchase announced today will help poultry producers who are experiencing an increase in dark meat cold storage inventories and a decreasing wholesale price,” Vilsack said. “These products are provided to food banks and other federal food nutrition assistance programs to offer recipients a wide variety of healthful products.”

A variety of high-quality, nutritious food products are purchased each year by U.S.D.A.’s Agricultural Marketing Service 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. U.S.D.A. also makes emergency food purchases for distribution to victims of natural disasters.

Government food experts work to ensure all purchased food is healthful and nutritious. Food items are normally required to be low in fat, sugar and sodium. The commodities must meet specified grade requirements and be U.S.D.A.-certified to ensure quality. A.M.S. only purchases products of 100% domestic origin.