Department of Defense Fresh Produce
Department of Defense Fresh Produce Program Frequently Asked Questions
- Is participation in the Department of Defense (DoD) program mandatory? No, the DoD program is an additional option for spending allotted entitlement dollars. Each school food authority (SFA) has the option of committing some, all or none of their entitlement to this program. Entitlement dollars committed to this program will result in fewer available funds to spend on other products being offered through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) foods program.
- Is there a minimum amount of entitlement dollars I have to allocate toward the DoD program? Yes. While DoD participation is voluntary, a $300 minimum entitlement allocation is required per program year. There is no entitlement cap for DoD.
- How do I order produce? Each new SFA that wants to participate in the DoD Fresh program must submit a Request to Participate Form designating a point of contact and delivery site information. Send the Request to Participate Form to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) sends the Request to Participate Form to the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) to process and create the sponsor’s account in the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Ordering and Receiving System (FFAVORS). The DLA will notify each sponsor once their account has been created in FFAVORS. Once established, all DoD orders are placed in the FFAVORS ordering system not in Cyber-Linked Interactive Child Nutrition System (CLiCS).
- If I participate in the DoD Program using entitlement dollars, will I receive an invoice for products ordered through the DoD vendor? No, all bills for produce ordered by participating schools are sent to and paid by USDA. However, schools should be aware that the entitlement value of each ordered product includes a service fee of DoD’s operational costs in addition to the daily market product costs. SFA’s can continue to place orders until they have expended the entitlement dollars committed to DoD within a given school year.
- Once an SFA has spent all of their entitlement dollars committed to this program, can our school continue to participate in the DoD Fresh Program? No. Once entitlement dollars are spent, schools can no longer utilize FFAVORS to order produce through AJ Wholesale Produce, Sheboygan, WI (DoD Fresh contracted vendor). If allocated funds have been depleted, schools can separately procure with AJ Produce outside of FFAVORS for the DoD Fresh program. However, schools are responsible for paying the costs associated with products ordered through AJ Wholesale Produce.
- As a participant in the DoD Program using entitlement dollars, does our school have to order products weekly and are there specific products that have to be ordered? No, SFAs participating in this program should manage DoD the same as any other potential fresh fruit and vegetable vendor. Sponsors should compare the price of all products available through DoD on a weekly basis and only order products when it is cost effective to do so.
- When products are ordered through FFAVORS for the DoD program, will the products be delivered along with the currently monthly USDA food delivery? No. The delivery of products ordered through the DoD program is separate from the monthly delivery of Regular USDA Food products. The state contracted vendor is responsible for the delivery of produce from the DoD Fresh program. Depending on your food service needs, DoD orders can be delivered weekly through the state vendor.
- Are there any restrictions on what types of fresh fruits and vegetables can be ordered through the DoD program? Yes. Under USDA regulations, foreign products cannot be purchased with entitlement dollars. All produce must be domestically grown.
- Is there a minimum order requirement? Yes, there is a $150 minimum order (drop) requirement.
- Who is the DoD contracted vendor for Minnesota? The vender is AJ Wholesale Produce in Sheboygan, Wisconsin.
- Who do I contact regarding delivery? Our contacts for AJ Produce are Rosemarie Zingale, email@example.com or 920-377-1267. Jamie Gruenke, firstname.lastname@example.org or 920-629-7234. For general inquiries, email@example.com.
- Who do I contact about access to the DoD FFAVORS ordering system? For FFAVORS access, FFAVORS order entry or any other miscellaneous inquiry, contact DoD Customer Service team at USDADoDFresh@fns.usda.gov. Please include your full name, phone number, the full name of the school, and your current FFAVORS customer code, if applicable.
- Who do I contact about login issues to the DoD FFAVORS ordering system? Contact the Help Desk at 800-457-3642, option 1 or email FFAVORS@fns.usda.gov. Please include your complete name, sponsor name, and sponsor number.
- What should I do if my ordered was shorted? Please ensure that all products listed on the delivery receipt are received. In the event of a shortage, please inform the driver immediately and have them confirm the issue on the delivery notice. The driver will issue you a credit memo. Contact Rosemarie Zingale or Jamie Gruenke with AJ Wholesale Produce. Also, contact the USDA at USDADoDFresh@fns.usda.gov within 24 hours of delivery. You must enter the receipt in Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Order Receipt System (FFAVORS) within seven days after the delivery date. When you modify the quantity in the “receipts” section (e.g., two cases to one case of apples), you will receive a credit in FFAVORS.
- What do I do if my order has quality issues? Please inspect the products upon delivery. In the event of quality issues, schools have the option to reject the product, inform the driver immediately to confirm the issue on the delivery notice and receive a credit memo from the driver. Contact Rosemarie Zingale or Jamie Gruenke with AJ Wholesale Produce within 24 hours of delivery. You must also enter the receipt in FFAVORS within seven days after delivery date. When you modify the quantity in the “receipts” section (e.g., two cases to one case of apples), you will get a credit in FFAVORS.
- When do I place my order and when should I expect it to arrive? AJ Produce will designate a delivery day for each school food authority (SFA). Contact Rosemarie Zingale for your delivery day if unknown. When placing your order, you must allow three business days for the vendor to process your order. For example: if your designated delivery date is Friday, you must place your order by Monday of the same week, to follow the three business day rule. Or, if your delivery day is Wednesday, you must place an order by Thursday of the previous week.
- Can I change my delivery location at ‘drop’ time? No, orders will be delivered to the location established in FFAVORS. Drivers cannot be re-directed to another delivery site. Site changes must be submitted using the Request to Participate form.
- Can I cancel an order? Yes, cancellations must be entered into FFAVORS 24 hours prior to the scheduled delivery day. If not cancelled in time, SFAs will be charged for that order.
- Why is it that while trying to place my order the “receipts” link indicates there are receipts to be edited and not allow me to place an order? The system requires customers to process receipts within seven calendar days of delivery date. A receipt that is not processed (edited) by the seventh calendar day after delivery date is considered past due. A customer will be unable to place a new order if they have past due receipts.
- What happens to my DoD entitlement if I do not use it? DoD entitlement does not rollover to the next program year. All unused funds will be lost after June 30. MDE will monitor each SFA’s entitlement spending. For SFAs that have significant balances, little activity and/or nonactivity, MDE will reallocate unused committed dollars to other sponsors in the spring of the school year. MDE will notify affected agencies regarding the reallocation and will re-distribute accumulated funds to interested SFAs on a fair-share basis.
- How do I know if my DoD produce is Minnesota grown? There is a column for State of Origin in the FFAVORS produce catalog. If the product is Minnesota grown, “MN” will be marked in the State of Origin column. Contact AJ Wholesale Produce for specific Minnesota farm information.
If you have general questions, please contact the Food Distribution Program at 651-582-8526, toll free at 800-366-8922 or firstname.lastname@example.org.