|March 2, 2022
|SP 04-2022, CACFP 04-2022
|Question and Answer Guidance on the Final Rule Child Nutrition Programs: Transitional Standards for Milk, Whole Grains, and Sodium Effective July 1, 2022
Special Nutrition Programs
Child Nutrition Programs
Attached are Questions and Answers (QA) on the final rule titled, Child Nutrition Programs: Transitional Standards for Milk, Whole Grains and Sodium (87 FR 6984, Feb. 7, 2022). This guidance is intended to be transitional and in effect for school years (SY) 2022-23 and 2023- 24. FNS plans to promulgate a new rule for long-term meal pattern requirements to be effective starting in SY 2024-25. In case of a delay, this updated guidance will remain effective until subsequent standards are promulgated through rulemaking. This QA memorandum rescinds and replaces SP 37-2019, CACFP 16-2019, Questions and Answers on the Final Rule Child Nutrition Programs: Flexibilities for Milk, Whole Grains and Sodium Requirements, dated Sept. 23, 2019.
These QAs address the following key provisions of the final rule:
The rule allows schools participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP) to offer flavored, low-fat (1 percent) milk at lunch and breakfast and as a beverage for sale a la carte, and requires that unflavored milk (fat-free or low-fat) be available at each school meal service. For consistency across programs, the rule extends the transitional milk requirements to the Special Milk Program for children and to the Child and Adult Care Food Program for children ages six and older and adult participants. This rule also clarifies that lactose free and reduced-lactose fluid milk meet the Special Milk Program for children and the Child and Adult Care Food Program requirements for fluid milk to provide consistency across all child nutrition programs.
The rule requires that at least 80 percent of the weekly grains in the NSLP and SBP be whole grain-rich; the remaining weekly grains offered must be enriched.
The final rule retains sodium target one for NSLP and SBP through SY 2022-23, retains sodium target one for SBP in SY 2023-24, and institutes a sodium interim target 1A for NSLP for SY 2023-24. 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.
Policy and Program Development Division