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Serving Additional Foods in the Summer Food Service Program

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FNS Document #
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Policy Memos
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PDF Icon Policy Memo (63.39 KB)
DATE: November 23, 2011
SUBJECT: Serving Additional Foods in the Summer Food Service Program
TO: Regional Directors
Special Nutrition Programs
All Regions
State Directors
Child Nutrition Programs
All States

This memorandum provides guidance to state agencies on the allowable use of program funds for additional foods served in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). In accordance with the SFSP meal service requirements outlined in 7 CFR §225.16(f)(8), additional foods may be served with each meal to “improve the nutrition of participating children.” Previous guidance has recommended that program operators serve additional foods (i.e., those foods served in addition to the food necessary to meet the meal pattern requirements) when remaining program funds are available (SFSP 01-2008: Nationwide Expansion of Summer Food Service Program Simplified Cost Accounting Procedures, Jan. 2, 2008).

We anticipate that most sites will exhaust their Program funds administering the Program and providing food to meet the meal pattern. However, if a site chooses to purchase additional food with SFSP funds, the food must be a creditable food under the meal pattern requirements. (Condiments served with a creditable food are exempt from this restriction.) If, in the past, sites have purchased additional low-nutrient foods to serve outside of the reimbursable meal, please be aware that expenditures for foods that could not be served as part of the reimbursable meal based on the SFSP meal patterns are no longer allowable costs. Sites wishing to serve additional foods that do not meet SFSP meal pattern standards must use non-Program funds.

Sites with additional funds available are encouraged to use the funds to improve the reimbursable meals served by using fresher, healthier, more nutritious products, such as fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and unprocessed cheeses. Foods such as turkey wraps, fresh watermelon, grapes, and carrots with hummus are nutritious options that children enjoy.

Given the renewed emphasis on improving the nutrition of our Nation’s children, the most appropriate use of program funds is to increase the nutritional value of the meals children receive through the SFSP. This interpretation is supported by the program regulations, as noted above, and the FNS Financial Management Instruction 796-4, Revision 4.

State agencies should direct any questions concerning this guidance to the appropriate FNS regional office. Regional offices with questions should contact the Child Nutrition Division.

Cynthia Long
Child Nutrition Division

Page updated: December 15, 2021

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.