The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a bid solicitation for 302,480 cases of canned sockeye salmon last week, extending the stretch of record federal seafood purchases.

The solicitation is the first one for salmon under US President Joe Biden's "Build Back Better" program, which aims to address food supply chain bottlenecks.

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The bid is for 24-count cases of 14.75-ounce cans of sockeye, putting the total bid at around 7.3 million cans.

The salmon will be used for the agency's National School Lunch program and Federal Food and Nutrition Assistance Programs across the United States.

The USDA will announce the accepted submissions by Dec. 21, with deliveries to be made between February and July next year.

Earlier this month, the USDA released its first bid under the Build Back Better program for 7.6 million pounds of frozen catfish.

In November, the federal agency announced it also plans to purchase Alaska pink salmon and Alaska pollock for distribution to various food nutrition assistance programs.

School lunchroom crisis

US school lunchrooms have cited labor shortages, lack of certainty with supplies, and orders simply not being delivered as major challenges to providing children with a consistent lunch menu each week.

The USDA is helping to pick up the added costs and is reimbursing districts for school meals at about 15 percent higher than the normal rate. It has announced that another $1.5 billion (€1.3 billion) in aid is forthcoming, but the agency has not spelled out how that will be distributed.

The Build Back Better bill, which still has not been signed into law, addresses a broad range of social issues beyond food security that include infrastructure improvements, climate change, and universal and free preschool for all 3- and 4-year-olds.