Special Dietary Needs
Confused about when food substitutions have to be made for a student? The federal regulations state that "schools shall make substitutions in foods . . . for students who are considered handicapped . . . and whose handicap restricts their diet. Schools may also make substitutions for non-handicapped students who are unable to consume the regular lunch (breakfast) because of medical or other special dietary needs."
In simple terms, this means that if a student has a documented disability that restricts their diet, the school foodservice department MUST make the substitutions as listed by a licensed medical professional (MD, DO, NP, PA) on a medical statement form.
If, however, a request for food substitutions is made for a student without a documented disability, the school foodservice department MAY make the substitutions listed on the medical statement form signed by a recognized medical authority.
It is the responsibility of the parent/guardian making the request to submit a properly filled out and documented medical statement form.
Medical Statement: Please use this form for disabilities, non-disabilities or other diet preferences.
- Request for Special Dietary Needs Accommodations (updated 10-2016)
Additional guidance documents available upon request from MDE School Nutrition Programs team (firstname.lastname@example.org or 517-373-3347).
- USDA Memo SP 59-2016 - How to Accommodate Special Dietary Needs in School Meal Programs (released 9-2016)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Food Allergy Resources
- Food Allergy Resources and Education - Special Dietary Needs Resources
- Institute of Child Nutrition - Special Dietary Needs Resources