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Implementing the Revised School Meal Recipes

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PDF Icon Policy Memo (69.25 KB)
DATE: January 18, 2006
SUBJECT: Implementing the Revised School Meal Recipes
TO: Regional Offices & State Agencies

The recipes from the 1988 Quantity Recipes for School Food Service and the 1995 Tool Kit for Healthy School Meals were revised using updated yields from the Food Buying Guide for Child Nutrition Programs and using the 2005 Food Code for the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points. The revised recipes were combined into one source and in April 2005, the USDA Recipes for Child Nutrition Programs – Schools were posted at the National Food Service Management Institute’s (NFSMI) website. The April 2005 version supersedes all other versions of school recipes.

The following provides guidance on the implementation of the revised recipes and for discontinuing the use of the old recipes:

Beginning July 1, 2006, the revised recipes contained in the USDA Recipes for Child Nutrition Programs - Schools, currently posted at the NFSMI websites, should be the only USDA recipes used for meeting school meal requirements for federal reimbursement.

  • These recipes are currently available online at:
    (all of the recipes are listed in alphabetical order) and
    (all of the recipes are listed by order of recipe number).

As of June 30, 2006, the following USDA recipes should no longer be used for meeting school meal requirements for federal reimbursement:

  • 1988 Quantity Recipes for School Food Service;
  • 1995 Tool Kit for Healthy School Meals;
  • Recipes containing Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points based on the 1999 Food Code, provided on CD from the NFSMI;
  • Chef Challenge recipes; or
  • any other USDA recipes published prior to the revised (April 2005) school meal recipes.

The recipe sources listed above are based on outdated food yields and food code recommendations. A majority of the recipes no longer provide the quantity of food for crediting or nutrient values indicated and have outdated critical control points, and therefore, should not be used. To avoid using the wrong recipe version, schools and school food authorities should discard obsolete recipes.

Schools will need to be aware that some of the software used by schools for nutrient analysis may not currently contain the correct version of the recipes. While all approved software programs already include the updated nutrient values in their inclusion of CN database release 9, some software companies had previously and voluntarily included complete recipes with ingredients in their software. However, the ingredient recipes in these additions to the software may not be the revised recipes and should not be used unless they are verified to be the revised version. Schools should also note that USDA does not review the accuracy of voluntarily added software features, therefore, if schools choose to use ingredient recipes included in software programs they are using them at their own risk.

To assist schools with the implementation of the revised recipes, Team Nutrition plans to distribute a recipe publication in late spring 2006. Schools that are already using the revised (April 2005) recipes are encouraged to continue using them. Schools that are not currently using the revised recipes are encouraged to begin using them as soon as possible, but no later than July 1, 2006.

Stanley C. Garnett
Child Nutrition Division

Page updated: March 27, 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.