(2) Master Solicitation. Federal laws dictate many requirements concerning
food purchases. Based on budget restrictions and availability of food supplies, DPSC
prepares MS for various food item groupings. A MS is a document that explains the
procedures to bid on food contracts, laws governing the qualifications to sell to the
military, contract controls, product inspection, and other pertinent information. Master
Solicitations are published and sent to all food processors who are interested in bidding
for contracts to supply food to the military and to the units responsible for food
inspection. These MS is retained until they are replaced by a new MS. Some MSs
were written three years ago or more and are still in use. They are rewritten only when
major changes are made in the contract or food supply requirements.
(3) Technical Data Sheet. The technical data sheet (TDS) covers specific
DPSC requirements for closely related perishable items. It will identify the applicable
specifications of the inspection. Packaging, packing, labeling, and marking
requirements for the individual items are included as well as temperature requirements
and item descriptions by National Stock Number (NSN). The applicable TDS is
referenced in the solicitation.
(4) Specification. This document describes the technical requirements for
items, materials, or services, and includes the procedures to follow to determine if the
requirements have been met. A combination of federal and military specifications is
generally used. The applicable specification is referenced in the TDS.
(5) Bids. The bids (offer of a certain price) from all interested companies
are sent to a contracting officer at DPSC. At a designated time, the bids are opened
and the successful bidder is awarded the contract. The company that sells food items
to the government is called the contractor. (Sometimes the term "vendor" is used.).
(6) Contract. A contract is written and sent to the bidder who has been
awarded the contract. Copies are also sent to the ordering officer and the unit that will
inspect the food. The contract may be one of two types:
(a) Definite delivery. A DPSC Form 300, Order for Subsistence, is
used as a contract for perishable food items only. (Perishable food requires
refrigeration for handling and storage. Examples are fresh meat, milk, fruits, and
vegetables.) This form is used when large quantities can be ordered and when less
frequent deliveries are required. This type of contract is sometimes referred to as a
"one-time-only" or "non-requirement" or "other-than-requirements" contract.
(b) Indefinite delivery. A Standard Form 26, Award/Contract, is used
as a contract for both perishable and semiperishable food items. For perishable food
items, this form is used when a food item is to be delivered over a period of time on a
recurring basis. Fluctuations in demand cause changes in delivery requirements and
varying amounts may be ordered for each delivery. An example is milk that is due to be
delivered over a six-month period. Orders for all semiperishable food items are
prepared on this form. (Semiperishable food items are long shelf-life items that do not