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Information Alert: Equity in School Lunch Pricing

Nutrition Services Division Information Alert

To: National School Lunch Program Sponsors

Number: USDA-SNP-05-2011

Attention: Food Service Directors

Date: April 2011
Subject: Equity in School Lunch Pricing
Reference: United States Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, Equity in School Lunch Pricing Fact Sheet (March 2011)

This Information Alert (IA) notifies National School Lunch Program (NSLP) sponsors that the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently issued a Policy Memo regarding “Equity in School Lunch Pricing in the NSLP,” which could result in the need to raise paid meal prices by $0.05 or $0.10 by July 1, 2011.

On December 13, 2010, the President signed reauthorization legislation that governs all Child Nutrition Programs (CNP). The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (the Act), Public Law 111-296, makes many important improvements to the CNPs that serve millions of children.

Effective July 1, 2011, sponsors currently charging between $1.60 and $2.46 for a paid lunch may be required to gradually increase their paid lunch prices until the revenue per lunch matches the difference between the cost of the meal and the paid federal reimbursement rate.

The USDA Food and Nutrition Service expects to publish an Interim Rule by July 1, 2011.

The California Department of Education, Nutrition Services Division is working with the USDA to obtain more detailed guidance and will issue a more comprehensive Management Bulletin (MB). However, both the MB and the IA will be posted to the CDE Web site.

The fact sheet is available from the USDA Web site at

Please submit any questions regarding this new USDA policy to this e-mail address with “Lunch Pricing” in the subject line:

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Friday, January 15, 2016
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