Report 2016-139 Recommendation 9 Responses

Report 2016-139: California Department of Education: It Has Not Ensured That School Food Authorities Comply With the Federal Buy American Requirement (Release Date: July 2017)

Recommendation #9 To: San Diego Unified School District

To help ensure that they consistently comply with the Buy American requirement, San Diego should establish written policies and procedures related to the Buy American requirement by October 1, 2017. At a minimum, those policies and procedures should include the following:
- An explanation of how it will ensure that it consistently includes language related to the Buy American requirement in its bid solicitation documents and contracts.
- A minimum expectation for how regularly it will verify that food items its vendors provide are domestic commodities or products.
- A requirement that its staff identify the need to purchase foreign-sourced items as early as possible in the food purchasing process and that they begin documenting the justification for such exceptions to the Buy American requirement at that time.
- Guidance for how it will maintain documentation showing that its purchases of foreign-sourced food items meet one of the two allowable exceptions.

60-Day Agency Response

The Food and Nutrition Services Department at San Diego Unified is still in the process of finalizing the written policies and procedures related to the Buy American requirement. However, many components have already been completed. The Strategic Sourcing and Contracts department desk guide for Food & Nutrition Services has language which specifically states that all food bids must contain language related to the Buy American requirement. The language in the desk guide includes the specific language that shall be inserted into any bid solicitation document. Food & Nutrition Services has also developed a specific plan to inspect products to verify that items provided by vendors are domestic products. Beginning in January 2018, the department will perform quarterly physical inspections of the Food Services warehouse as well as three production kitchens to verify the country of origin for selected products. Products will be selected from various food categories and the findings will be documented and kept on file. Food & Nutrition Services is also developing an internal form to be used to document any foreign sourced products that meet one of the two allowable exceptions. The development of the form will be completed by November 2017, and all items meeting the allowable exceptions will be kept on file. Procedures for all the Buy American requirements have been developed and Food and Nutrition Services is in the process of completing the final written policies related to these requirements.

  • Estimated Completion Date: November 3, 2017
  • Response Date: September 2017

California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Partially Implemented

San Diego has developed procedures for inspections of food products to verify compliance with the Buy American requirement. However, as it indicates in its response, it is still finalizing other policies and procedures related to the Buy American requirement.

All Recommendations in 2016-139

Agency responses received are posted verbatim.