Food and Nutrition Service

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Food and Nutrition Service
USDA logo.svg
Agency overview
Parent agency United States Department of Agriculture
Child agency

The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), was established on August 8, 1969. The FNS is the federal agency responsible for administering the nation’s domestic nutrition assistance programs. The service helps to address the issue of hunger in the United States. It administers the programs through its headquarters (HQ) in Alexandria, VA; regional offices (ROs) in San Francisco, Denver, Dallas, Chicago, Atlanta, Boston, and Robbinsville (NJ); and field offices throughout the US. While its staff number among the USDA's fewest, its budget is by far the largest.


FNS products and services enhance the lives of one in five Americans; its main products and services include:

  • commodities supplied as: prepared meals that are served at congregate feeding sites; food packages that may be used for home consumption; and disaster relief assistance
  • food assistance through electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards; nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free meals and snacks; vouchers; and, fresh, locally grown produce
  • nutrition education and promotion materials and presentations delivered by expert staff and senior managers; and
  • food safety and security efforts, technical assistance and informational materials

Nutrition assistance programs[edit]

These products and services are provided through fifteen domestic nutrition assistance programs:

In the United States, the lunches that are subsidized by the NSLP are nearly ubiquitous in public schools. The program has operated since 1946.

The FNS is in charge of the national "Eat Smart. Play Hard." campaign, which encourages Americans (more specifically, children and teens) to follow the healthy eating guidelines set by MyPyramid. The spokescharacter of the "Eat Smart. Play Hard." campaign is Power Panther.

See also[edit]


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