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Taking Food Components Offsite in the At-Risk Afterschool Component of CACFP

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FNS Document #
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Policy Memos
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PDF Icon Policy Memo (83.29 KB)
DATE: April 6, 2017
SUBJECT: Taking Food Components Offsite in the At-Risk Afterschool Component of the Child and Adult Care Food Program
TO: Regional Directors
Special Nutrition Programs
All Regions
State Directors
Child Nutrition Programs
All States

The purpose of this memorandum is to extend to the at-risk afterschool component of the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) the flexibility to take certain food items offsite. This flexibility is currently permitted in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and National School Lunch Program (NSLP). Due to the nature of the at-risk afterschool component of the CACFP and its similarities with the SFSP and NSLP, this allowance only applies to the at-risk afterschool component of the CACFP. This memorandum supersedes CACFP 22-2016: Taking Food Components Off-site in the At-Risk Afterschool Component of the Child and Adult Care Food Program, August 10, 2016.

Similar to all child nutrition programs, meals served in the CACFP are intended to be consumed in settings where organized groups of eligible children and adults are gathered to eat. This means that meals must be consumed on-site in order for the meal to be reimbursable. From time to time, CACFP operators may want to serve meals offsite, such as during a field trip. This is allowable, provided that the CACFP institution provide notice to their state agency prior to the event. Failure to meet this “congregate feeding” requirement will result in the disallowance of meals and may lead to a determination of serious deficiency in the program.

However, the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) recognizes that some children, for a variety of reasons, may want to save some food items to eat at a later time. For this reason, and due to the similar nature of the CACFP’s at-risk afterschool component with the SFSP and NLSP, CACFP at-risk afterschool institutions may now allow children to take one vegetable, fruit, or grain item offsite to eat at a later time. The food item a child takes offsite must be from the child’s own meal or snack, or left on a share table by another child who did not want it. Please see SP41, CACFP13, SFSP15-2016 “The Use of Share Tables in Child Nutrition Programs” ( for more information about share tables.

CACFP at-risk afterschool institutions do not need state agency approval prior to implementing this flexibility. But, CACFP at-risk afterschool institutions must ensure that allowing food items to be taken offsite is in compliance with local and state health and safety codes.

FNS encourages at-risk afterschool institutions to use this flexibility to increase children’s consumption of vegetables and fruit, and help reduce potential food waste in the CACFP. It is important to note, though, that at-risk afterschool institutions must have the capacity to monitor the site when food items are being taken offsite to prevent any food safety or integrity issues from arising. If a state agency determines during a review that there is not adequate oversight, and therefore, an increased risk of food safety and integrity issues, then the state agency may prohibit the individual at-risk afterschool institution from using this flexibility. The state agency’s decision to prohibit an at-risk afterschool institution from allowing food items to be taken offsite is not an appealable action.

State agencies are reminded to distribute this information to program operators immediately. Program operators should direct any questions regarding this memorandum to the appropriate state agency. State agencies should direct questions to the appropriate FNS regional office.

Angela M. Kline
Policy and Program Development Division
Child Nutrition Programs

Page updated: April 07, 2023

The contents of this guidance document do not have the force and effect of law and are not meant to bind the public in any way. This document is intended only to provide clarity to the public regarding existing requirements under the law or agency policies.