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Child and Adult Care Food Program Information

Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) Institutions and Sponsors 

To claim reimbursable meals in CACFP (child and adult care centers and homes, preschool programs such as Head Start or GSRP or At Risk After School programs), CACFP Sponsors must provide the required components: milk, fruit, vegetable, grain, and meat/meat alternate in the proper portions for meals and snacks.  

CACFP meal pattern flexibility waiver request form is available for the following requirements

  • serving one whole grain-rich item per day,
  • implementing ounce equivalents October 1, 2021, and 
  • serving only unflavored non-fat skim milk for participants age 6 and over 

Sponsors must request a waiver for any or all of the three meal pattern flexibilities. MDE will grant a waiver on a case-by-case basis.  

All other meal pattern requirements remain in effect.  

The sponsor claiming the meals is the one to fill out the waiver request form. 


CACFP Waiver Requests and Required Documentation for Supply Chain Issues for CACFP Centers and Sponsors 

A CACFP Meal Pattern Flexibility Waiver Request must include a targeted, specific rationale about why the meal pattern flexibility is needed. Specifics could include supply chain disruptions which affected procurement of certain food items. If approved, waiver approvals are valid for the 21-22 School Year (through June 30, 2022) and you do not have to request a waiver for each time a supply chain issue occurs.  

The planned menu should meet the CACFP nutritional requirements for reimbursable meals. If/when supply chain substitutions occurs, the menu planner's focus is on meeting the CACFP meal pattern with the required components as best they can. As long as the meal pattern is met, the meal is reimbursable.  

Documentation of the supply chain issue is required. This includes: 

  • Vendor and distributor receipts/invoices showing out of stock items and substitutes made to the order 
  • Email communication (or phone calls) 
  • Menus and/or production records (school programs) showing menu changes to planned menus 

Be sure to communicate with families that meal substitutions may occur because of supply chain issues, especially those families with food allergies. This could be done on menus, center or school websites, newsletters and/or social media.  


CACFP Sponsoring Organization Responsibilities for Vended Meals and Supply Chain Disruption 

CACFP Sponsors are to ensure that reimbursable meals are being served at their sponsored facilities. Sponsors are responsible for contract oversight, training site staff on how to inspect and receive meals, complete delivery tickets and ensuring that reimbursable meals are being served at all sponsored sites. Meals obtained from an outside vendor (from a vended meal company or school food authority for instance) are to meet meal pattern requirements to be eligible for reimbursement. Sponsors are to work with their vendor to ensure planned menus and meals delivered meet CACFP meal pattern requirements as stated in the terms of their contract. Menus, production records, delivery tickets and invoices are to be retained to support monthly claims. Any substitutions made to the planned menu, any meal/meal component shortages, etc., must be documented on the menus and delivery tickets and retained with monthly claim documentation. CACFP Sponsors may use the CACFP meal pattern flexibility waiver request form for the meal pattern requirements of serving a WGR item once per day and/or serving non-fat flavored milk to  participants age six and over if supply chain issues are affecting meals obtained through their vendor.  

SFAs That Sell Meals to CACFP 

For School Districts that provide meals to CACFP sites (such as Head Start and GSRP), the CACFP meal pattern and regulations need to be followed, per the contract between the CACFP Sponsor and the SFA. 

Planned menus should have all the required components identified. If/when supply chain substitutions happen, documentation needs to be kept of the planned menu and the items delivered and/or served. The SFA providing meals to a CACFP Sponsor needs to document the shortage and the CACFP sponsor needs to document the shortage. If it is a CACFP Sponsor claiming CACFP meals, then it falls under the CACFP waivers, CACFP requirements and auditing requirements. 

The SFA need to follow the CACFP pattern which includes sugar limits for breakfast cereals and yogurt and no food items that are perceived as a grains-based dessert. Grain-based dessert items such as cereal or granola bars, toaster pastries, etc., are not creditable in the CACFP. If supply chain substitutions and shorts occur so qualified products aren't available, find the closest appropriate substitute and document the issue with distributor invoices and changes on production records.  

Meals distributed for virtual students can use one meal pattern that includes preschool, with approval from MDE (part 2).  However, in-person meals need to follow the appropriate preschool portion sizes. 

Emergency Procurement

Per USDA guidance, a sponsor may use the non-competitive procurement method when experiencing a supply chain disruption. The non-competitive procurement method in 2 CFR 200.320(c) may be used when a "public exigency or emergency" prevents a sponsor from undertaking a competitive procurement. Circumstances, such as the unexpected cancellation of food and supply contracts, have the effect of creating an emergency for a sponsor participating in the Child Nutrition Programs.

Sponsors do not need to request a waiver or receive MDE approval to use the emergency non-competitive procurement method and may use this procurement method as long as the supply chain disruption occurs. For example, if a sponsor experiences an unexpected food order cancellation, the sponsor may go to the local grocery to purchase food as many times as they need using the emergency procurement method until their next food order arrives. The sponsor could also do an emergency one-year sole source emergency procurement to ensure they have food the entire school year.

Sponsors must maintain supporting documentation to support the use of the emergency non-competitive procurement method.

The following items are examples that would support the documentation requirements:

Documentation showing that the distributor, processor, or other supplier cancelled of food or supply contracts, deliveries, orders, emails, and phone call notes.

Documentation showing that the distributor, processor, or other supplier is no longer able to provide food as ordered or failed to consistently deliver goods. Retain emails from distributor, invoices or packing slips with info on cancelled or replaced products, phone call notes including name of contact person, date of call(s), time, and all details related to the call(s).

Documentation on the food and supplies being procured, dollar amount(s), and how the emergency procurement was handled, i.e., obtained through negotiation, phone, email, etc.