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Crediting Coconut, Hominy, Corn Masa and Masa Harina in the Child Nutrition Programs

EO Guidance Document #
FNS Document #
SP34 CACFP15 SFSP15-2019
Resource type
Policy Memos
Guidance Documents
Resource Materials
PDF Icon Policy Memo (87.28 KB)

This memorandum rescinds and replaces SP 22-2019, CACFP 09-2019, SFSP 08-2019 Crediting Coconut, Hominy, Corn Masa, and Corn Flour in the Child Nutrition Programs

DATE: August 22, 2019
POLICY MEMO: SP 34-2019, CACFP 15-2019, SFSP 15-2019
SUBJECT: Crediting Coconut, Hominy, Corn Masa and Masa Harina in the Child Nutrition Programs
TO: Regional Directors
Special Nutrition Programs
All Regions
State Directors
Child Nutrition Programs
All States

This memorandum rescinds and replaces SP 22-2019, CACFP 09-2019, SFSP 08-2019 Crediting Coconut, Hominy, Corn Masa and Corn Flour in the Child Nutrition Programs. This updated memorandum provides guidance on crediting coconut (including dried coconut), hominy, corn masa and masa harina and clarifies how to identify popular products made from corn that can credit towards the grain requirements in the child nutrition programs (CNPs), including the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), School Breakfast Program (SBP), Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and Summer Food Service Program (SFSP).

Prior to April 17, 2019, when the previous memorandum was published, coconut and hominy did not meet the requirement for any component in the meal patterns but could be served as an “extra” food. Based on stakeholder feedback and to meet the growing and diverse cultural needs of our program participants, the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) has updated food-crediting guidance to allow coconut and hominy to credit in the CNPs. Additionally, in this memorandum, FNS is updating and clarifying our crediting guidance for corn masa, masa harina, corn flour and cornmeal. The attached Questions and Answers provide more information about crediting these foods in the CNPs.


Fresh, frozen and dried coconut can be used to enhance the taste and presentation of salads, smoothies and other dishes served with meals or as snacks. Recognizing its versatility, program operators now may credit fresh or frozen coconut as a fruit based on volume served. Dried coconut now credits as a fruit at twice the volume served. Like other fruits, at least 1/8 cup of fresh, frozen, or dried coconut must be served to credit toward the fruit component. Coconut water, labeled as containing 100-percent juice, can credit toward the fruit component as juice per volume served. Please note that coconut flour and coconut oil are not creditable in the CNPs.

Menu planners must consider coconut’s caloric and saturated fat content, which may limit its frequency of use in school menus due to the dietary specifications for calories and saturated fat.

As a point of clarification, because it is now creditable as a fruit in the NSLP and SBP, fresh coconut also may be served in the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program.


Hominy is traditionally served in Mexican and Native American cultures as a vegetable or as a milled grain product (e.g., hominy grits). Based on its multiple uses and widespread appeal, hominy may now credit towards the vegetable or grain component in a reimbursable meal or snack.

Program operators now may credit hominy as follows:

  • ¼ cup of canned, drained hominy or cooked, whole hominy (from dried hominy)
  • credits as ¼ cup vegetable (starchy vegetable for NSLP and SBP)
  • ½ cup of cooked or 1 ounce (28 grams) of dry hominy grits credits as 1 ounce equivalent whole grain (1 serving grain for SFSP and NSLP Afterschool Snack). Corn Masa, Masa Harina, Corn Flour and Cornmeal
Corn Masa, Masa Harina, Corn Flour and Cornmeal

Since the release of the April 17, 2019, memo, FNS has received many questions from stakeholders on the crediting method for corn masa, masa harina, corn flour and cornmeal. As such, we want to provide clarification on the guidance issued in SP 22- 2019, CACFP 09-2019, SFSP 08-2019.

Program operators now may calculate contributions from corn masa, masa harina, nixtamalized corn flour and nixtamalized cornmeal in the same manner as all other creditable grain ingredients and food items. Crediting is determined by weight as listed in Exhibit A: Grain Requirements for Child Nutrition Programs, or by grams of creditable grain per portion. However, if any non-whole corn ingredient is labeled as enriched, or includes nutrients sub-listed after the corn ingredient in the ingredient statement, such as: yellow corn flour (folic acid, riboflavin, niacin and thiamine), then the corn ingredient can contribute only to the enriched grain requirements. Corn that is not “whole” or “enriched” or is not treated with lime (nixtamalized) does not credit as a grain in the CNPs. Please refer to the attached Questions and Answers for more detailed information about crediting these foods.

In addition to rescinding and replacing SP 22-2019, CACFP 09-2019, SFSP 08-2019, FNS has also rescinded SP 02-2013: Corn Masa (Dough) for Use in Tortilla Chips, Taco Shells and Tamales, dated Oct. 3, 2012 and TA 01-2008: Crediting of Corn Meal (Cornmeal) and Corn Flour for Grains/Breads Component, dated Dec. 11, 2007. FNS will update the Food Buying Guide for Child Nutrition Programs and the Whole Grain Resource for the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs to reflect these changes. To view the Food Buying Guide, please visit:

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 M. Kline
Policy and Program Development Division


Page updated: April 06, 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.