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Thursday, November 19, 2009

New guidance from USDA on Geographic Preference for "Unprocessed Products"

Hi all,

I have good news to share!


The USDA has revised the definition of “unprocessed products” that may be purchased by schools with geographic preference (which means that school food service directors can specify for and “prefer” locally-grown or –raised agricultural products in their procurement processes). As the attached memo explains, unprocessed products which “retain their inherent character” may now include those products that have been cooled, refrigerated, frozen, peeled, sliced, diced, cut, chopped, shucked, ground, dried/dehydrated, washed, cold pasteurized, vacuum packed, bagged, butchered, and pasteurized. This greatly expands the opportunities to get local products in usable forms for school food service!


The definition of unprocessed products in this memo will be effective until the final rule is drafted. I’ll be sure to share that with you when I get notice of it.




Colleen Matts

Farm to School Specialist

CS Mott Group for Sustainable Food Systems

Michigan State University

303 Natural Resources Building

East Lansing, MI 48824-1222



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