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National School Lunch Program

Transfer of CN Labeling Review Function from the Food and Nutrition Service to the Agricultural Marketing Service


On Jan. 16, 2009, USDA approved the transfer of the Child Nutrition (CN) Labeling review function from the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) to the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). This transfer will provide adequate staffing and technological support for the efficient operation of the CN Labeling Program through a fee-for-service program.


The CN Labeling Program helps local food service professionals to determine the contribution that commercial products make toward the meal pattern requirements for meals served in FNS child nutrition programs. The existence of a CN label on a product provides schools and other child nutrition program operators with a guarantee that the product contributes to the meal pattern requirements as printed on the label.

The value of the CN Labeling Program was affirmed at a 2007 stakeholders’ meeting of representatives from school districts, state agencies, and industry. The stakeholders unanimously supported continuation of the CN Labeling Program despite diminished resources available at FNS to support this program.  In addition, a September 2006 report by the USDA’s Office of Inspector General identified the lack of inspections for many CN labeled products as a significant concern. 

Unlike FNS, AMS has statutory authority to charge and expend user fees for a variety of services in support of the marketplace, such as user fees for CN label reviews and inspections. AMS began reviewing Quality Control (QC) Programs for compliance with the CN Labeling Program requirements on April 1, 2009 as a fee-based service.

Transition Phase

In 2009, FNS staff provided training to AMS staff on the CN label review process. In January 2010, the CN label review function transitioned to AMS offices with continued support provided by FNS staff. The CN Labeling Program Operations Office opened at AMS on Jan. 19, 2010, as a fee-based service.  

FNS will retain overall program administration authority of the CN Labeling Program and establishes related policies, instructions, and regulations. FNS staff performs oversight activities with respect to the CN Labeling Program and provides ongoing technical assistance to AMS.

The transfer consolidated management of the CN Labeling Program under AMS, Fruit and Vegetable Program (FV), Specialty crops Inspection (SCI) Division AMS, FV, SCI Division is a user fee organization and implements a fee for all CN Labeling Program activities. This enables the program to provide a valuable service to the industry in an efficient, cost-effective manner.

Key Dates
Dec. 1, 2009 -- Fee Notice to the Trade provided by AMS to expeditors and industry
-- Billing account and service agreement documents available
Dec. 21, 2009 -- Last day for expeditor appointments at FNS
Dec. 31, 2009 -- Last day for acceptance of CN Label applications at FNS without a fee.
   Applications received after Dec. 31 will be sent to AMS and assessed a review fee.
-- Review of labels received after Dec. 31 will not begin until Jan. 19, 2010 at AMS
Jan. 4-15, 2010 -- AMS and FNS staff move CN labels and files to AMS
-- AMS and FNS staff review CN labels received or postmarked by Dec. 31, 2009
Jan. 19, 2010 -- CN Labeling Program Operations Office opens at AMS
-- First day of CN label review at AMS with fee assessment
Information and Resources

Additional information about the AMS CN labeling review fees, billing account and service agreement applications, and the AMS application process:

Please visit the CN Labeling site often for the latest updates on the CN Labeling Program.

AMS Contact Information
Program Leader

Richard Boyd: