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The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). 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.

Food and Nutrition Service
Logo of the United States Department of Agriculture.svg
Agency overview
FormedAugust 8, 1969; 50 years ago (1969-08-08)
HeadquartersAlexandria, Virginia
Parent agencyUnited States Department of Agriculture
Child agency

FNS administers the programs through its headquarters in Alexandria, VA; regional offices 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 was established on August 8, 1969 as an agency of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Several FNS programs, however, pre-date the creation of the agency and trace their roots back to Depression era programs.[1]


FNS products and services are provided to 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 programsEdit

A nutrition researcher considers canned peas

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

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 alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b "History of FNS" (PDF). USDA Food and Nutrition Service. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 12, 2016. Retrieved November 16, 2016.

External linksEdit