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School Nutrition Program Information

National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs 

To claim reimbursable meals in the National School Lunch Program, sponsors must provide milk, fruit, vegetable, grain, and meat/meat alternate in the proper portions. 

Milk is white fat free, white 1%, chocolate fat free or chocolate 1% because of Transitional Standards for School Year 22-23 and 23-24. More than 1 kind of milk must be served.

Fruit can be fresh, canned, dried, frozen or juice. 

Vegetables can also be fresh, canned, frozen or juice.  Vegetable sub-groups must be met. Vegetable sub-groups include:  

  • Dark Green 
  • Red/Orange 
  • Starchy 
  • Beans/Peas/Legumes  
  • Other 

Grains must follow the 80/20 rule for whole grain rich. At least 80% of the grain servings must be whole grain rich for the week and the remaining 20% may be enriched grain servings. This is for breakfast and lunch.

Meat/meat alternate - Refer to Child Nutrition (CN) labels or Product Formulation Statements (PFS) or the Food Buying Guidefor required portion sizes.  

To claim reimbursable meals in the School Breakfast Program, sponsors must provide milk, fruit (or vegetable), and grain (may also include meat/meat alternate). 


School Food Authorities (SFA) That Sell Meals to Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) Sponsors

For SFAs 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 must document the shortage and the CACFP sponsor must document the shortage. If it is a CACFP sponsor claiming CACFP meals, then it falls under the CACFP requirements and auditing requirements. 

The SFA must 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.  


Required Documentation for Supply Chain Issues for School Nutrition Programs

The planned menu should meet the nutritional requirements for reimbursable meals. If/When supply chain substitutions happen, the Menu Planner is not required to recalculate the calories, fat and sodium based on the substitutions at this time. Focus on meeting the meal pattern with the required components. As long as the meal pattern is met, the meal is reimbursable. 

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

  • Distributor receipts showing out of stock items and substitutes 
  • Email communication (or phone calls) 
  • Production records showing menu changes 

The only Meal Pattern Waiver available for SY 22-23 is #110. This can be used by MDE during an Administrative Review to waive fiscal action of there are meal pattern violations due to COVID-19 supply chain disruptions. Sponsors cannot apply for this waiver, it is used at MDE’s discretion.

Remember to follow the Sponsor's emergency procurement process that is included in their procurement procedures. Texas Department of Agriculture created a helpful document about procurement during supply chain disruptions.  

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, school websites and social media.

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.