Subsistence engages industry partners about ingredient restriction process

By Jason Kaneshiro DLA Troop Support Public Affairs

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Representatives from the military services, food industry partners and the Defense Logistics Agency Troop Support gathered for the Subsistence Ingredients Industry Day July 19.

The event was held to increase industry’s understanding of the process involved in defining the services’ nutritional requirements and the rules and regulations DLA follows when buying on the warfighters’ behalf.

“It was also an opportunity for more transparency in the process used to decide what ingredients to restrict or remove from the services buyers guide,” Janine Samoni, a division chief with DLA Troop Support’s Subsistence supply chain, said.

The services buyers guides are documents that outlines the standards and quality of subsistence items the military services require.

DLA follows the services’ requirements when procuring food for warfighters around the globe. DLA also adheres to guidelines made by other federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration.

“I think industry got an appreciation of all of the rules and regulations we follow in coming up with the standards and where these references were coming from,” Samoni said.

Representatives from the military services also presented how they decided which ingredients are to be restricted or removed from the services buyers’ guide.

The services ensure that their item descriptions focus on quality and nutritional value since the warfighter is a human weapon system and they have to be well-fueled with high quality, nutritional food, Samoni said.

“We ensure the warfighters’ needs are met and that the items meet their requirements,” Samoni said. “I think industry now understands DLA’s role in the process.”

Bob Franco, chief operating officer of vendor C&R Foods, Inc., said that he felt that the meeting was inclusive, allowing the perspectives of DLA, the services and industry to be heard.

“I think the conference was useful. I think it went well,” Franco said.

Franco said that while the attendees represented different interests, it was important for everyone there to remember that the meeting was ultimately for the benefit of feeding and sustaining the warfighters.

“I think that sometimes we may forget that our main focus is that 18-20 year old,” Franco said. “At the end of the day, who’s going to eat it?”