Beans Commodity Fact Sheet

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WBSCM Material Description and Number

BEANS, BLACK BAG-50 KG    100552
BEANS, PINK BAG-50 KG    100549
BEANS, PINTO BAG-50 KG    100551
BEANS, SMALL RED BAG-50 KG    100547

General Information

Beans are pulses available for food aid in the following varieties: Black, Desi and Kabuli Garbanzo, Great Northern, Dark Red Kidney, Light Red Kidney, Pink, Pinto, and Small Red beans. The many varieties of beans produced by the United States help meet diverse local tastes and preferences. For more information on selecting and specifying the appropriate beans for the local context, please refer to the U.S. Dry Beans Council: ( If more than one variety of bean is acceptable in a certain country or region then multi-class (substitutable) ordering is encouraged to increase availability and reduce costs. Most beans produced in the United States are harvested from mid-August to early October, and the top bean-producing states are North Dakota and Michigan. Beans are packaged in 50-kilogram polypropylene woven bags whose fabric contains an inhibitor to resist ultraviolet absorption and an anti-skid coating. If stored properly in a cool, dry place, they have a minimum shelf life of one year, keeping indefinitely and withstanding harsh or tropical environments. For full product specifications refer to the USDA Commodity Requirements Document for dry edible beans.

Programming Guidance

Beans can be used in emergency and development settings as illustrated by the 2011 Food Aid Quality Review (FAQR) Report decision trees:

  • Emergencies: Beans may be provided with oil and either a fortified flour/meal or grain in the second phase of emergency food distribution. Either corn soy blend (CSB) programmed with oil or ready-to-use supplementary food (RUSF) should be added as a targeted supplement to this ration for children under two (U2). In a longer-term emergency, beans may also be provided in Food for Assets, Food for Work, Food for Training, Vulnerable Group Feeding and Food for Education programs.
  • Development: Beans may be used in a general household ration where this is appropriate. Beans may also be programmed with grain and oil in Food for Assets, Food for Work, Food for Training, Vulnerable Group Feeding and Food for Education programs.

Nutrition/Preparation Information

Beans are consumed as an affordable source of protein in most parts of Africa, Central and South America, and Asia. They are a good source of fiber, B vitamins, and antioxidants. When combined with a grain, beans provide complementary amino acids to create a complete protein meal. Their preparation involves overnight soaking. Cooking time ranges from ½ hour to 2 hours depending on the size and shape of the bean; hot-soaking significantly reduces cooking time. If local conditions, such as high altitude, make cooking time a consideration, then smaller beans with a reduced surface area, such as Garbanzo or Small Red beans, with may be an alternative. For more information on preparing bean varieties, refer to the U.S. Dry Beans Council (

USDA Nutrient Database

Find more information below from the USDA Nutrient Database 28: 

*Small Red beans: USDA Nutrient database information is not available for small red beans; however, they are nutritionally similar to kidney beans

USDA Commodity Requirements Document

Shelf Life/Best if Used By Date (BUBD)

  • Shelf life - not available  
  • BUBD - 24 months after packaging


U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. 2015. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 28. Nutrient Data Laboratory Home Page. Retrieved May 31, 2016 from:

United States Department of Agriculture, Farm Services Agency. 2013. USDA. Commodity Requirements.  DEB7 Dry Edible Beans for Use in International Food Assistance Programs. Retrieved May 31, 2016 from:

United States Dry Bean Council. 2012. Bean Varieties. Retrieved May 31, 2016 from:

United States Dry Beans Council. 2012. Partners in Food Security and Nutrition.  Retrieved May 31, 2016 from:

United States Dry Beans Council. 2012. Production Facts and FAQs. Retrieved December 30, 2015 from:

Webb, P., B. Rogers, I. Rosenberg, N. Schlossman, C. Wanke, J. Bagriansky, K. Sadler, Q. Johnson, J. Tilahun, A. Reese Masterson, A. Narayan.  2011.  Delivering Improved Nutrition: Recommendations for Changes to U.S. Food Aid Products and Programming.  Retrieved May 31, 2016 from:

Last updated: June 09, 2016

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