This webpage is on procurement guidance and requirements for all Child Nutrition Programs, including School Nutrition Programs (such as the National School Lunch Program, Special Milk Program, and School Breakfast Program), the Summer Food Service Program, and the Child and Adult Care Food Program. Procurement means the process of obtaining goods and/or services in accordance with applicable rules and regulations. Procurement rules ensure that program benefits are received by eligible schools and participants, and that taxpayer dollars are used effectively and efficiently, with no waste or abuse. Regulations require that all purchases made, whether funded wholly or in part with Child Nutrition Program funds, comply with all federal, state, and local procurement requirements.
All procurement transactions must be conducted in a manner that provides maximum open and free competition. Procurement procedures must ensure they do not foster noncompetitive practices between firms, do not create organizational conflicts of interest, and do not restrict or eliminate competition. Procurement must not place unreasonable requirements on firms, require unnecessary experience, or establish unrealistic bonding requirements. Cost plus a percentage of purchase is not an allowable system. There must be descriptions of all products purchased and identical instructions provided to all potential vendors.
Formal standards of conduct should govern the performance of officers, employees, and agents in the award and administration of contracts. These standards should provide that officers, employees, or agents should not solicit nor accept gratuities, favors, or anything of monetary value from contractors, potential contractors, or parties of sub-agreements.