7 CFR § 225.16 - Meal service requirements.

prev | next
§ 225.16 Meal service requirements.

(a) Sanitation. Sponsors shall ensure that in storing, preparing, and serving food, proper sanitation and health standards are met which conform with all applicable State and local laws and regulations. Sponsors shall ensure that adequate facilities are available to store food or hold meals. Within two weeks of receiving notification of their approval, but in any case prior to commencement of Program operation, sponsors shall submit to the State agency a copy of their letter advising the appropriate health department of their intention to provide a food service during a specific period at specific sites.

(b) Meal services. The meals which may be served under the Program are breakfast, lunch, supper, and supplements, referred to from this point as “snacks.” No sponsor may be approved to provide more than two snacks per day. A sponsor may claim reimbursement only for the types of meals for which it is approved under its agreement with the State agency. A sponsor may only be reimbursed for meals served in accordance with this section.

(1) Camps. Sponsors of camps shall only be reimbursed for meals served in camps to children from families which meet the eligibility standards for this Program. The sponsor shall maintain a copy of the documentation establishing the eligibility of each child receiving meals under the Program. Meal service at camps shall be subject to the following provisions:

(i) Each day a camp may serve up to three meals or two meals and one snack;

(ii) Residential camps are not subject to the time restrictions for meal service set forth at paragraphs (c) (1) and (2) of this section; and

(iii) A camp shall be approved to serve these meals only if it has the administrative capability to do so; if the service period of the different meals does not coincide or overlap; and, where applicable, if it has adequate food preparation and holding facilities.

(2) NYSP Sites. Sponsors of NYSP sites shall only be reimbursed for meals served to enrolled NYSP participants at these sites.

(3) Restrictions on the number and type of meals served. Food service sites other than camps and sites that primarily serve migrant children may serve either:

(i) One meal each day, a breakfast, a lunch, or snack; or

(ii) Two meals each day, if one is a lunch and the other is a breakfast or a snack.

(4) Sites which serve children of migrant families. Food service sites that primarily serve children from migrant families may be approved to serve each day up to three meals or two meals and one snack. These sites shall serve children in areas where poor economic conditions exist as defined in § 225.2. A sponsor which operates in accordance with this part shall receive reimbursement for all meals served to children at these sites. A site which primarily serves children from migrant families shall only be approved to serve more than one meal each day if it has the administrative capability to do so; if the service period of the different meals does not coincide or overlap; and, where applicable, if it has adequate food preparation and holding facilities.

(c) Meal service times.

(1) Meal service times must be:

(i) Established by sponsors for each site;

(ii) Included in the sponsor's application; and

(iii) Approved by the State agency.

(2) Breakfast meals must be served at or close to the beginning of a child's day. Three component meals served after a lunch or supper meal service are not eligible for reimbursement as a breakfast.

(3) At all sites except residential camps, meal services must start at least one hour after the end of the previous meal or snack.

(4) Meals served outside the approved meal service time:

(i) Are not eligible for reimbursement; and

(ii) May be approved for reimbursement by the State agency only if an unanticipated event, outside of the sponsor's control, occurs. The State agency may request documentation to support approval of meals claimed when an unanticipated event occurs.

(5) The State agency must approve any permanent or planned changes in meal service time.

(6) If meals are not prepared on site:

(i) Meal deliveries must arrive before the approved meal service time; and

(ii) Meals must be delivered within one hour of the start of the meal service if the site does not have adequate storage to hold hot or cold meals at the temperatures required by State or local health regulations.

(d) Meal patterns. The meal requirements for the Program are designed to provide nutritious and well-balanced meals to each child. Sponsors must ensure that meals served meet all of the requirements. Except as otherwise provided in this section, the following tables present the minimum requirements for meals served to children in the Program. Children age 12 and up may be served larger portions based on the greater food needs of older children.

(1) Breakfast. The minimum amount of food components to be served as breakfast are as follows:

(2) Lunch or supper. The minimum amounts of food components to be served as lunch or supper are as follows:

(3) Snacks. The minimum amounts of food components to be served as snacks are as follows. Select two of the following four components. (Juice may not be served when milk is served as the only other component.)

(e) Meat or meat alternate. Meat or meat alternates served under the Program are subject to the following requirements and recommendations.

(1) The required quantity of meat or meat alternate shall be the quantity of the edible portion as served. These foods must be served in a main dish, or in a main dish and one other menu item.

(2) Cooked dry beans or peas may be used as a meat alternate or as a vegetable, but they may not be used to meet both component requirements in a meal.

(3) Enriched macaroni with fortified protein may be used to meet part but not all of the meat/meat alternate requirement. The Department will provide guidance to State agencies on the part of the meat/meat alternate requirement which these foods may be used to meet. If enriched macaroni with fortified protein is served as a meat alternate it shall not be counted toward the bread requirement.

(4) If the sponsor believes that the recommended portion size of any meat or meat alternate is too large to be appealing to children, the sponsor may reduce the portion size of that meat or meat alternate and supplement it with another meat or meat alternate to meet the full requirement.

(5) Nuts and seeds and their butters listed in program guidance are nutritionally comparable to meat or other meat alternates based on available nutritional data. Acorns, chestnuts, and coconuts shall not be used as meat alternates due to their low protein content. Nut and seed meals or flours shall not be used as a meat alternate except as defined in this section under paragraph (e)(3) and in this part under Appendix A: Alternate Foods for Meals. As noted in paragraph (d)(2) of this section, nuts or seeds may be used to meet no more than one-half of the meat/meat alternate requirement for lunch or supper. Therefore, nuts or seeds must be combined with another meat/meat alternate to fulfill the requirement. For the supplemental food pattern, nuts or seeds may be used to fulfill all of the meat/meat alternate requirement.

(f) Exceptions to and variations from the meal pattern—(1) Meals provided by school food authorities—(i) Meal pattern substitution. School food authorities that are Program sponsors and that participate in the National School Lunch or School Breakfast Program during any time of the year may substitute the meal pattern requirements of the regulations governing those programs (Parts 210 and 220 of this chapter, respectively) for the meal pattern requirements in this section.

(ii) Offer versus serve. School food authorities that are Program sponsors may permit a child to refuse one or more items that the child does not intend to eat. The reimbursements to school food authorities for Program meals served under this “offer versus serve” option must not be reduced because children choose not to take all components of the meals that are offered. The school food authority may elect to use the following options:

(A) Provide meal service consistent with the National School Lunch Program, as described in part 210 of this chapter.

(B) Provide breakfast meals by offering four items from all three components specified in the meal pattern in paragraph (d)(1) of this section. Children may be permitted to decline one item.

(C) Provide lunch or supper meals by offering five food items from all four components specified in the meal pattern in paragraph (d)(2) of this section. Children may be permitted to decline two components.

(2) Children under 6. The State agency may authorize the sponsor to serve food in smaller quantities than are indicated in paragraph (d) of this section to children under six years of age if the sponsor has the capability to ensure that variations in portion size are in accordance with the age levels of the children served. Sponsors wishing to serve children under one year of age shall first receive approval to do so from the State agency. In both cases, the sponsor shall follow the age-appropriate meal pattern requirements contained in the Child and Adult Care Food Program regulations (7 CFR part 226).

(3) Statewide substitutions. In American Samoa, Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands, the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands, the following variations from the meal requirements are authorized: A serving of a starchy vegetable—such as ufi, tanniers, yams, plantains, or sweet potatoes—may be substituted for the bread requirements.

(4) Individual substitutions. Substitutions may be made by sponsors in food listed in paragraph (d) of this section if individual participating children are unable, because of medical or other special dietary needs, to consume such foods. Such substitutions shall be made only when supported by a statement from a recognized medical authority which includes recommended alternate foods. Such statement shall be kept on file by the sponsor.

(5) Special variations. FNS may approve variations in the food components of the meals on an experimental or a continuing basis for any sponsor where there is evidence that such variations are nutritionally sound and are necessary to meet ethnic, religious, economic, or physical needs.

(6) Temporary unavailability of milk. If emergency conditions prevent a sponsor normally having a supply of milk from temporarily obtaining milk deliveries, the State agency may approve the service of breakfasts, lunches or suppers without milk during the emergency period.

(7) Continuing unavailability of milk. The inability of a sponsor to obtain a supply of milk on a continuing basis shall not bar it from participation in the Program. In such cases, the State agency may approve service of meals without milk, provided that an equivalent amount of canned, whole dry or nonfat dry milk is used in the preparation of the milk components set forth in paragraph (d) of this section. In addition, the State agency may approve the use of nonfat dry milk in meals served to children participating in activities which make the service of fluid milk impracticable, and in locations which are unable to obtain fluid milk. Such authorization shall stipulate that nonfat dry milk be reconstituted at normal dilution and under sanitary conditions consistent with State and local health regulations.

(8) Additional foods. To improve the nutrition of participating children, additional foods may be served with each meal.

(g) Meals served away from approved locations.

(1) Sponsors may be reimbursed for meals served away from the approved site location when the following conditions are met:

(i) The sponsor notifies the State agency in advance that meals will be served away from the approved site;

(ii) The State agency has determined that all Program requirements in this part will be met, including applicable State and local health, safety, and sanitation standards;

(iii) The meals are served at the approved meal service time, unless a change is approved by the State agency, as required under paragraph (c) of this section; and

(iv) Sponsors of open sites continue operating at the approved location. If not possible, the State agency may permit an open site to close, in which case the sponsor must notify the community of the change in meal service and provide information about alternative open sites.

(2) The State agency may determine that meals served away from the approved site location are not reimbursable if the sponsor did not provide notification in advance of the meal service. The State agency may establish guidelines for the amount of advance notice needed.

(h) Off-site consumption of food items. Sponsors may allow a child to take one fruit, vegetable, or grain item off-site for later consumption without prior State agency approval provided that all applicable State and local health, safety, and sanitation standards will be met. Sponsors should only allow an item to be taken off-site if the site has adequate staffing to properly administer and monitor the site. A State agency may prohibit individual sponsors on a case-by-case basis from using this option if the State agency determines that the sponsor's ability to provide adequate oversight is in question. The State agency's decision to prohibit a sponsor from utilizing this option is not an appealable action.

[54 FR 18208, Apr. 27, 1989, as amended at 54 FR 27153, June 28, 1989; Amdt. 2, 55 FR 1377, Jan. 14, 1990; 55 FR 13470, Apr. 10, 1990; 61 FR 37672, July 19, 1996; 62 FR 10191, Mar. 6, 1997; 64 FR 72487, Dec. 28, 1999; 64 FR 72487, Dec. 28, 1999; 65 FR 12437, Mar. 9, 2000; 65 FR 82251, Dec. 28, 2000; 87 FR 57365, Sept. 19, 2022; 87 FR 79213, Dec. 27, 2022]