On Friday the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reported that it will purchase 63.4 million pounds of orange juice to be donated to various food assistance programs in the U.S.
Each year the USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) purchases food products for distribution in the U.S. and will be accepting bids to supply the 63.4 million pounds of juice which is worth about $26 million.
The purchase will not only help needy Americans, but it will assist the citrus industry which has an excess inventory this year. The Florida citrus industry is expected to profit well from the purchase.
"It's 100 percent [from the] United States, and it's overwhelmingly Florida juice," Florida Congressman Adam Putnam, who is a citrus grower himself, told the Orlando Sentinel.
The AMS, which only purchases products of domestic origin, says commodities offered for bid must meet certain grade requirements and must be inspected by the USDA prior to purchase.
The juice is expected to be distributed by the USDA's Food and Nutrition Service as part of the national school lunch program, the school breakfast program, on Indian reservations and through other programs assisting children and the elderly, including victims of natural disasters.