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School Nutrition Program Information

National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs 

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

Milk is white fat free, white 1% or chocolate fat free. Chocolate 1% may be served to children over 6 if your school is approved for the waiver (part 1). 

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

Vegetables can also be fresh, canned, frozen or juice.  Vegetable sub-groups must be met unless your school has been approved for a waiver (part 2). Vegetable sub-groups include:  

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

All grains must be whole grain rich. If your school is approved for the waiver (part 1), then half of the weekly servings may be whole grain-rich. 

Meat/meat alternate - Refer to Child Nutrition (CN) labels or Product Formulation Statements (PFS) or the Food Buying Guide for 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). 


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.  


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 

Meal Pattern Flexibility Waiver Requests can be based on supply chain issues. Waiver approvals are valid for the 21-22 School Year.  

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.