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Reimbursement For Recycled Milk and Other Meal Components

EO Guidance Document #
FNS Document #
FNS Instruction 786-6 Rev. 1
Resource type
Guidance Documents
Resource Materials
DATE: August 21, 1990
SUBJECT: Reimbursement For Recycled Milk and Other Meal Components
TO: Regional Directors
Special Nutrition Programs

This Instruction sets forth the policy concerning recycling of milk and other meal components. 

To avoid food waste, served milk that is unopened and retrieved for reservice, or the reservice of other items as a component of another reimbursed meal, is permitted if such practice is not contrary to applicable State and local health codes. This policy is based on the regulatory provision that Federal reimbursement is provided to the participating school food authority, institution or sponsor for each meal served to participants, which meets the meal pattern requirements in Sections 210.10, 220.8, 225.16, and 226.20 of the Department's regulations. 

Application of this policy is to be limited to those situations where it is necessary to prevent food waste. Where nonconsumption and, therefore, the practice of recycling is extensive, appropriate measures should be taken to assure that increased consumption is encouraged through proper and appealing service, nutrition education and other means. 

With regard to accountability for such recycled meal components, Sections 210.8(c), 220.11(b), 225.9(d)(4), and 226.10(c) require that claims for reimbursement shall include data in sufficient detail to justify the reimbursement claimed. Other sections indicate that all claims are subject to review or audit and must be substantiated by appropriate documentation. Participating schools, institutions and sponsors should therefore maintain some record of their daily use of purchased milk or other food items which are recycled. 

Samuel Bauer
Child Nutrition Division

Page updated: March 16, 2022

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.