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​This webpage is a resource for Summer Food Service Program and Child and Adult Care Food Program sponsors on the requirements of Vended Meals Contracts. In a vended meals contract, the contractor provides the meals only (prepackaged, pre-plated) and does not manage any aspect of the food service. (If you a School Food Authority, please go to Financial Management webpage for guidance.)

Currently, all vended meals contracts involving expenditures in excess of $250,000 must be competitively bid. Sponsoring Organizations receiving federal reimbursement must follow the required federal and state procurement procedures. To ensure regulatory compliance, all Sponsoring Organizations conducting a new procurement or considering contracting for vended meals are highly encouraged to please contact our office for further information and clarification.

Provided below are links to the forms and documents to assist you in completing a successful procurement or contract renewal.

If you have questions regarding the bid solicitation and contract procedures or contract renewal process, please contact our office at (217) 782-2491 or (800) 545-7892 (in Illinois), or via email at nutritionprocurement@isbe.net.​

 Rules and Regulations

​Bid Document Development

Federal regulations (7 CFR Part 3016.36(b)) prohibit the awarding of contracts to any person or entity that develops or drafts specifications, requirements, statements of work, invitations for bids, requests for proposals, contract terms and conditions, or other procurement documents. In failing to fulfill its responsibilities to draft its own specifications and procurement documents, a Sponsoring Organization that copies a list of features or evaluation and ranking criteria drafted by a potential vendor and then permits that potential vendor to submit a bid has violated federal regulation 7 CFR Part 3016.60(b). This pertains to all child nutrition program procurements, including software acquisitions.

Bid Procedures

Each Sponsoring Organization is required to have procurement procedures in place that reflect applicable state and local laws and regulations, provided that procurements made with Child Nutrition Program funds adhere to the standards set forth in the federal regulations​. Sponsoring Organization procedures must also include a written code of standards of conduct meeting the minimum standards of 7 CFR Part 3016.36(b)(3) or 7 CFR Part 3019.42, as applicable.

Bid Protest

Any action that diminishes open and free competition seriously undermines the integrity of the procurement process and may subject a Sponsoring Organization to bid protests. Sponsoring Organizations are responsible for properly responding to protests and concerns raised by potential contractors. Pursuant to §3016.36(b) (12), SFAs must have protest procedures in place to handle and resolve disputes relating to their procurements and must in all instances disclose information regarding a protest to the Illinois State Board of Education Nutrition Department.

Competition

2 CFR 200.319 Competition (a) All procurement transactions must be conducted in a manner providing full and open competition consistent with the standards of this section. In order to ensure objective contractor performance and eliminate unfair competitive advantage, contractors that develop or draft specifications, requirements, statements of work, or invitations for bids or requests for proposals must be excluded from competing for such procurements. Some of the situations considered to be restrictive of competition include but are not limited to:

  1. Placing unreasonable requirements on firms in order for them to qualify to do business;
  2. Requiring unnecessary experience and excessive bonding;
  3. Noncompetitive pricing practices between firms or between affiliated companies;
  4. Noncompetitive contracts to consultants that are on retainer contracts;
  5. Organizational conflicts of interest;

Specifying only a “brand name" product instead of allowing “an equal" product to be offered and describing the performance or other relevant requirements of the procurement.​​​​​

 Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP)

​If you are not sure which type of contract you have or you are considering contracting for the first time, please contact the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) staff for further information and clarification. Call (800) 545-7892.

Informal Bidding Procedures: Purchases of Goods and/or Service Less Than $250,000

Formal Bidding Process: Purchases of Goods and/or Service More Than $250,000

The Invitation for Bid and Contract (IFB), used to procure vended meals for the Child and Adult Care Food Program, must be used for all contracts and must be competitively bid if the contract will exceed $250,000. Materials were developed to assist program sponsors in procuring a contract and include required materials and instructions for completing the competitive bid process.

If the contract for meal services will not be in excess of $250,000 annually, you may use informal bidding procedures to procure the meal services contract.

Prior to soliciting bids, all Invitation for Bid and Contract documents must be submitted to ISBE for review to determine regulatory compliance prior to beginning the bid solicitation process. Allow a minimum of one month for ISBE staff to review all documents and to receive written notification that the Sponsoring Organization may proceed with the bid solicitation. Documents may be submitted via:

Mail: Nutrition Department, CACFP
Illinois State Board of Education
100 N. First St. W270
Springfield, IL 62777-0001
Email:nutritionprocurement@isbe.net
Fax: (217) 524-6124

 Summer Food Service Program (SFSP)

​If you are not sure which type of contract you have or you are considering contracting for the first time, please contact the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) staff for further information and clarification. Call (800) 545-7892.

Informal Bidding Procedures: Purchases of Goods and/or Service Less Than $250,000

Formal Bidding Process: Purchases of Goods and/or Service More Than $250,000

The Invitation for Bid and Contract (IFB), used to procure vended meals for the Summer Food Service Program, must be used for all contracts and must be competitively bid if the contract will exceed $250,000. Materials were developed to assist program sponsors in procuring a contract and include required materials and instructions for completing the competitive bid process.

If the contract for meal services will not be in excess of $250,000 annually, you may use informal bidding procedures to procure the meal services contract.

  • The Invitation for Bid and Contract – Included in the Instruction HandbookPDF Document
    • Instructions for Completing the Invitation for Bid and Contract
    • Sample Newspaper Advertisement
    • Sample Food Specifications
    • Sample Cold Lunch Menus
    • Sample Cold Breakfast Menus
    • Instructions for Developing Menus
    • Sample Vendor Letter
    • List of Known Vendors

Prior to soliciting bids, all Invitation for Bid and Contract documents must be submitted to ISBE for review to determine regulatory compliance prior to beginning the bid solicitation process. Allow a minimum of one month for ISBE staff to review all documents and to receive written notification that the Sponsoring Organization may proceed with the bid solicitation. Documents may be submitted via:

Mail: Nutrition Department, SFSP
​Illinois State Board of Education
100 N. First St. W270
Springfield, IL 62777-0001
Email:nutritionproocurement@isbe.net
Fax:(217) 524-6124

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