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Retention of Source Documents for Meal Counts

Nutrition Services Division Management Bulletin
Purpose: Action Required

To: Child and Adult Care Food Program Day Care Home Sponsors

Number: NSD-CACFP-11-2012

Attention: Food Program Director

Date: May 2012

Subject: Retention of Source Documents for Meal Counts

Reference: Title 7, Code of Federal Regulations, sections 226.10 (c and d), 226.11 (c) (1), and 226.18; U. S. Department of Agriculture Policy Memo CACFP 03-2009; Management Bulletin USDA-CACFP-05-2010 Record Retention Requirements for Day Care Home Providers; CACFP Standard Agreement (NSD2053 Rev 7/10)

Supersedes: NSD-CACFP-04-2012

This Management Bulletin (MB) supersedes MB NSD-CACFP-04-2012, which reviewed the requirements for retaining original records associated with meals served for the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). The purpose of this MB is to clarify that Day Care Home (DCH) providers must submit original source documents to their DCH sponsor when filing their monthly claim.

Original source documents that support menu and meal counts must be retained for the current Federal Fiscal Year (FFY), plus the prior three years. In cases where there are open audits, the records must be kept until the audit is completed. Failure to maintain program records as required is grounds for the denial of reimbursement for meals served during the period associated with the records, and may result in a Serious Deficiency designation.

Required Menu and Meal Count Information

Program regulations require DCH providers to retain original documentation for the following menu and meal count records:

  • Menus and types of foods served to enrolled children at each meal
  • Number of meals by type served to enrolled children
  • Number of enrolled children served at each meal
  • Number of children in attendance

Providers that enter menu and meal data into an online computer data collection system (“sponsor meal administration system”) less often than daily must keep a copy of both their daily paper records and the electronic records and send the original paper records to their sponsor when they submit their monthly claim. For example, if a provider keeps daily paper records, and enters that information into a computer data collection system once a week, the provider must make a copy of the daily paper records, keep them for the required retention period, and send the original records to their sponsor with their monthly claim. The daily paper records would be considered the source documents. However, if a provider keeps paper records during the day, and transfers that information into a computer data collection system that same day, they do not need to retain the original paper records. In this case, the electronic records serve as the original record and must be retained for the required retention period.

Further explanation and examples of the retention requirements are available in the Standard Agreement and in MB USDA-CACFP-05-2010 on the California Department of Education CACFP Management Bulletin Web page at


If you have questions regarding this MB, please contact the CACFP Specialist assigned to your agency. You may find a list of contact information for your specialist in the Download Forms section of the Child Nutrition and Information Payment System.

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Thursday, December 1, 2016
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