What are “entitlement foods” and “commodities,” and how do they play a part?

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U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foods (formerly referred to as commodities) are U.S. foods purchased by the USDA, which are provided to schools at minimal cost. These foods typically include fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, dry and canned beans, fruit juices, vegetable oils, peanut products, rice, pasta, flour, and other grain products. In addition to these “entitlement” foods, schools also may receive “bonus” foods if there is an agricultural surplus and/or depressed market prices.

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