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Child Nutrition Program Integrity Final Rule: State Agency Discretion for Repeat Meal Pattern Violations Fiscal Action

FNS Document #
SP 04-2024
Resource type
Policy Memos
Resource Materials
PDF Icon Policy Memo (287.65 KB)
DATE:December 1, 2023
SUBJECT:Child Nutrition Program Integrity Final Rule: State Agency Discretion for
Repeat Meal Pattern Violations Fiscal Action
TO:Regional Directors
Child Nutrition Programs
All Regions
State Directors
Child Nutrition Programs
All States

The final rule, Child Nutrition Program Integrity, published on Aug. 23, 2023, amended 7 CFR 210.18(l)(2) to provide state agencies discretion in determining whether to assess fiscal action against school food authorities (SFAs) when they find repeat violations of the milk type or vegetable subgroup requirements during an Administrative Review. With this change to the regulations, the only required fiscal action for meal pattern violations is when there are missing food components or missing production records. For all other meal pattern violations, state agencies can decide whether fiscal action is warranted based on the specific circumstances of the review. Please note that the provision was effective on Sept. 24, 2023, so it is applicable to Administrative Reviews that state agencies are conducting in school year 2023-24.

Table 1. Summary of Fiscal Action for Meal Pattern Requirements
State agencies have discretion to take fiscal action for the following repeat violations:State agencies are required to take fiscal action for the following violations:
  • Food quantities
  • Whole grain-rich foods
  • Milk types
  • Vegetable subgroups
  • Dietary specifications (calories, saturated fat, and trans-fat)
  • Missing food components
  • Missing production record

While the vast majority of SFAs strive to make a good faith effort to comply with meal pattern requirements, the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) recognizes that some SFAs may need additional support to fully and correctly execute the meal pattern. Rather than requiring state agencies to fiscally penalize these SFAs, the change made through the final Child Nutrition Program Integrity Rule allows state agencies to consider each unique situation and determine whether noncompliance can be addressed with only technical assistance and corrective action. In other situations, after providing technical assistance and requiring corrective action and still finding noncompliance, fiscal action may be warranted. FNS encourages state agencies to communicate with their SFAs about situations that would warrant fiscal action, to ensure a uniform and fair approach.

State agencies are reminded to distribute this memorandum to program operators immediately. Program operators should direct any questions concerning this guidance to their respective state agency. State agencies with questions should contact the appropriate FNS regional office.


Jessica Saracino
Program Monitoring and Operational Support Division
Child Nutrition Programs

Page updated: December 22, 2023