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Child Nutrition Programs’ Flexibilities for SY 2018-19

EO Guidance Document #
FNS Document #
SP18 CACFP13-2018
Resource type
Policy Memos
Guidance Documents
Resource Materials
PDF Icon Policy Memo (129.47 KB)
DATE: June 1, 2018
SUBJECT: Child Nutrition Programs’ Flexibilities for School Year 2018-2019
TO: Regional Directors
Special Nutrition Programs
All Regions
State Directors
Child Nutrition Programs
All States

An interim final rule published on Nov. 30, 2017 (82 FR 56703) provides child nutrition program operators targeted flexibilities for milk, whole grains, and sodium requirements for school year (SY) 2018-2019. This memorandum summarizes the flexibilities that will be effective July 1, 2018. The following three flexibilities apply to SY 2018-2019 only. USDA is currently developing a final rule that will address the availability of flexibilities beyond SY 2018-2019.

Milk: Operators in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the School Breakfast Program (SBP) will have the option to offer flavored, low-fat (1 percent fat) milk as part of a reimbursable meal for students in grades K through 12. Flavored, low-fat (1 percent fat) milk may be provided to Special Milk Program and Child and Adult Care Food Program participants 6 years of age and older. No demonstration of hardship will be required. Schools will also be able to offer flavored, low-fat milk as a competitive beverage for sale.

Whole grains: State agencies will continue to have discretion to grant whole grain-rich exemptions to school food authorities (SFAs) that can demonstrate hardship(s) in procuring, preparing, or serving specific products that are acceptable to students and compliant with the whole grain-rich criteria. SFAs that receive exemption approval must offer at least half of the grains as whole grain-rich. Please refer to SP 33-2016 for guidance on the exemption process.

Sodium: Sodium Target 1 will continue as the regulatory limit in the NSLP and SBP. State agencies are reminded to distribute this memorandum to program operators. Program operators should direct any questions concerning this guidance to their state agency. State agencies with questions should contact the appropriate FNS regional office.

Angela Kline
Policy and Program Development Division

Page updated: April 01, 2022

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.