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FNS Meal Programs

Resource type
Technical Assistance & Guidance

What are the advantages of using CN labels?

  • A CN label statement clearly identifies the contribution of a product toward the meal pattern requirements. It protects a school from exaggerated claims about a product.
  • A CN label provides a warranty against audit claims, if used according to the manufacturer's directions.

Are CN labeled products more nutritious than similar non-CN labeled products?

No. While a CN-labeled product is guaranteed to contain a certain quantity of food, it does not indicate that the quality of the food is any different than a non CN-labeled food. Neither does it mean the foods are safer to eat or free of pathogens or allergens.

Do CN labeled products cost more?

Costs should be similar. Cost comparison between two meat products should be based on the cost per ounce (or pound) that contributes to the meal pattern requirements, not on the product cost per ounce (or pound). Please refer to the Notice to the Trade: Fee for Child Nutrition Labeling Review and Approvals and the Memorandum of Understanding for information regarding program fees.

How do I identify a CN label?

  • In addition to required labeling features, a CN label will always contain the following:
  • The CN logo (which is a distinct border) The meal pattern contribution statement
  • A 6-digit product identification number
  • USDA/FNS authorization statement
  • The month and year of approval.

CN Label sample

Sample label statement:

The six digit CN identification number in the upper-right corner is assigned by the AMS-CN Labeling Program Operations Office.

The date found at the end of this statement reflects the month/year of final approval.

Page updated: December 27, 2023