Procurement and Contracts

Requirements – Contracts for Vended Meals

A Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) organization that purchases its SFSP meals from a company or other organization (vendor) must meet program standards for the procurement and the contents of the contract.

1. What is the definition of food service management company and vendor?

SFSP regulations allow a sponsoring organization to purchase meals from a food service management company, which is defined as any organization – commercial (catering or food service management or restaurant) or a school or a private non-profit organization – that provides SFSP meals to a program sponsor. In the SFSP Contract for Vended Meals template, the term Vendor is used for the food service management company.

2. What contract format must be used?

The Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) provides a standard SFSP Contract for Vended Meals template with the required contract provisions.

A sponsoring organization may use its own usual form of contract to provide meals for SFSP in these situations:

(1) The sponsoring organization has a year-round contract for food service management.

(2) The sponsoring organization is a public entity.

(3) Expenditures under the contract will not exceed $150,000.

If a sponsoring organization is using its own usual form of contract and the contract does not have provisions for SFSP, the SFSP Contract for Vended Meals template may be used as an addendum to the existing contract so that SFSP requirements are specified.

3. What if SFSP meals will be obtained from a school?

If a sponsoring organization will obtain SFSP meals from a school food authority that participates in the National School Lunch Program, competitive procurement procedures as described below are not required. The sponsoring organization and school food authority may directly negotiate the terms of the contract. The standard SFSP Contract for Vended Meals template should be used.

4. Are formal procurement procedures required?

The small purchase threshold is $100,000 for public schools (state law) or $150,000 for other organizations (federal law).

If a contract is expected to not exceed the applicable small purchase threshold described above: Informal procurement procedures may be used. This is often referred to as “obtaining quotations” or “quotes.” Maintain a procurement log to document the quotes that were obtained and the basis for awarding the contract.

If a contract is expected to exceed the applicable small purchase threshold described above: Formal sealed bid procurement procedures, including advertisement, must be used.

5. What information do potential vendors need?

The sponsoring organization must specify its requirements for vended meals. At a minimum, provide information to vendors about:

- Meal services to be provided at each site.

- Number of meals to be provided daily for each meal service.

- Ordering and delivery requirements.

- Menus for each meal service.

- A copy of the required contract template (SFSP Contract for Vended Meals).

A list of companies that are interested in bidding for contracts is available on the MDE website.

Sponsoring organizations are encouraged to take affirmative steps to ensure that small businesses, minority firms and women’s business enterprises are used when possible.

6. Does the contract have to be awarded to the vendor with the lowest bid?

Purchasing for SFSP must follow applicable procurement procedures that ensure free and open competition and the economical expenditure of program funds. Generally, a sponsor must accept the lowest bid from a responsible bidder that can provide SFSP meals as specified.

Sponsors are encouraged to use the services of small and minority businesses and women’s business enterprises. Preference may be given to these businesses in awarding the contract only if the preference is statutory or court decreed.

7. Notification before award of contract

A sponsor must notify MDE before awarding the contract in these situations:

(1) There may be justification to accept a bid other than the lowest bid.

(2) Only one bid was received.

(3) The successful bid exceeds $150,000.

8. May a contract be renewed for additional years without rebidding?

A contract may be renewed for a limited number of years after the original contract if the sponsoring organization and vendor mutually agree to renew. A public school or district may renew a contract for up to two years as allowed by state law. Other sponsoring organizations may renew a contract for up to four years as allowed by federal regulations. A contract may not automatically renew.

The SFSP Renewal of Contract for Vended Meals template must be used for contract renewal. Each year the renewal template specifies a maximum percentage for changes to contract prices based on recent Consumer Price Index data.

9. How is procurement and contract documentation submitted?

Upload the required contract and/or procurement documentation on the sponsoring organization’s SFSP application in the Cyber-Linked Interactive Child Nutrition System (CLiCS). An SFSP application is not complete until the required contract / procurement documentation has been uploaded.

For a new contract: Upload a copy of the signed SFSP Contract for Vended Meals and the completed SFSP Procurement Description form with attachments.

For a renewal: Upload a copy of the signed SFSP Renewal of Contract for Vended Meals.

10. Additional requirements for contracts over $150,000

If contract payments are expected to exceed $150,000, the sponsoring organization must:

- Notify MDE, at least 14 calendar days prior to the opening of the bids, about the contract and the time and place of bid opening.

- Ensure that the Invitation for Bids (IFB) or Request for Proposals (RFP) meets the requirements in SFSP regulations (7 CFR 225.15(m)), including public announcement, public opening and bid and performance bonds. The sponsoring organization may submit its IFB or RFP to MDE for review prior to distribution to vendors.

- Prior to the beginning of program operations, send to MDE: copies of the bids and reason for choosing the successful bidder and a copy of the contract including certification of independent price determination.

11. What if a college-sponsored program will obtain SFSP meals from the college’s food service management company?

A college may have an exclusive food service management contract that prohibits other companies from providing food services on campus. SFSP requirements should be included whenever a new food service management contract is procured.

If the original solicitation for a food service management contract did not include SFSP requirements, the college must send information to MDE to determine whether providing SFSP meals under the existing contract would be a material change to the contract.

- If adding SFSP is determined not to be a material change to the existing contract, SFSP meals may be provided through the existing contract.
- If adding SFSP would be a material change to the existing contract, SFSP meals may not be provided through the existing contract (unless the SFSP meals are paid for with other nonfederal funds from outside the food service account).

If adding SFSP would be a material change to the existing contract, a college has these options:

(1) Competitively procure a new food service management contract for the college, including SFSP requirements.

(2) Competitively procure a new contract for SFSP meals only, if agreed to by the college and company.

(3) Have college staff prepare the SFSP meals.

(4) Provide the SFSP meals under the existing contract and pay for them with other nonfederal funds from outside the food service account.