Nutrition Services Division
To: Sponsors of National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs, County Superintendents of Schools, Diocesan Superintendents of Schools
Attention: Food Services Directors
Date: September 2000
Subject: Additional Menu Planning Approaches in the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program
|Reference: Title 7 of the Code of Federal Regulations (7 CFR) Parts 210 and 220; Public Law 104-149 and 104-193; Management Bulletin 96-115|
This Management Bulletin transmits the final rule from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) on additional menu planning approaches available for the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program, effective June 8, 2000. The attached USDA Federal Register (as amended May 17, 2000) updates the School Meals Initiative for Healthy Meals (SMI) issued in Management Bulletin 96-115. A summary of the final rule is outlined below.
The new regulations allow five menu planning approaches [reference 7 CFR 210.10(a)(5) and 7 CFR 220.8(a)(1)]:
- Nutrient Standard Menu Planning (NSMP)
- Assisted Nutrient Standard Menu Planning (ANSMP)
- Traditional Food-Based Menu Planning (Traditional)
- Enhanced Food-Based Menu Planning (Enhanced)
- Alternate Menu Planning, including Shaping Health as Partners in Education (SHAPE California) and other approaches
The 1994-95 Meal Pattern/Traditional Meal Pattern has been reinstated as one of the permanent menu planning approaches. This meal pattern is now known as the Traditional Food-Based Menu Planning Approach (Traditional). The age/grade groups for this meal pattern have not changed [reference 7 CFR 210.10(k)(1)].
Definitions for food components and food items have changed (reference 7 CFR 210.2 Definitions).
Regulations on the Alternate Menu Planning Approach, previously called the "any reasonable approach" method, are those adopted or developed by school food authorities that differ from the other approaches listed above. Minor and major modifications have been established as follows:
A. Minor Pre-approved Modifications of Alternate Menu Planning
USDA allows three minor modifications for sponsors using one of the food-based menu planning approaches. These modifications do not require approval from the State prior to implementation if the district has written documentation available for review and monitoring purposes for each participating site.
- Schools using food-based approaches may follow the nutrient and calorie levels for the age/grade groups for the majority of children if only one age/grade is outside the established levels. This option was previously only available under NSMP and ANSMP approaches [reference 7 CFR 210.10 (l)(2)(iii)].
- Schools using Traditional Food-Based Menu Planning may select one of two options regarding nutrient standards. They may use the nutrient standards developed that correspond with the original age/grade groupings for Traditional or those previously established for Enhanced, NSMP, and ANSMP [reference 7 CFR 210.10 (l)(2)(ii)].
- The minimum required quantities of the meat/meat alternate component under the food-based menu planning approaches may be offered as a weekly total. A one ounce meat/meat alternate (or the equivalent) serving size is the minimum daily requirement [reference 7 CFR 210.10 (k)(1)]. This does not apply if the minimum serving of meat/meat alternate is less than one ounce [reference 7 CFR 210.10 (l)(2)(i)].
B. Major Modifications in Alternate Menu Planning Approaches
Major modifications to one of the four existing menu planning approaches or newly development alternate menu planning approaches may also be implemented.
In developing an alternate approach, districts must meet all of the following criteria:
- The alternate menu planning approach must be available in writing for review and monitoring purposes. Guidance material, a handbook, or protocol is sufficient to submit for approval [reference 7 CFR 210.10(l)(3)].
- Significant changes to existing or alternate menu planning
systems must meet all of the following criteria [reference 7
- Offer pasteurized fluid milk that meets State and local standards;
- Include offer versus serve for senior high school students or a specific plan that meets the criteria of this section;
- Meet the Recommended Dietary Allowances and energy allowances (calories), indicate the age/grade groups served, and how the nutrient levels are met;
- Follow the requirements for counting food items and products toward the meal patterns included in regulations or USDA guidance materials;
- Follow the requirements for competitive food sales;
- Identify a reimbursable meal at the point of service;
- Explain how the alternate menu planning approach will be monitored including a description of the records that will be maintained to document compliance with the administrative and nutrition requirements; and
- Follow the requirements for weighted analysis and for USDA-approved software for NSMP approaches as outlined in the regulations. Note: schools may use simple averaging through September 30, 2003
In January 1997, USDA approved the Shaping Health As Partners in Education (SHAPE) California protocol as the first alternate menu planning approach. Approved schools that promote a comprehensive school health system may use an additional food-based and/or nutrient standard menu planning approach. Use of any alternate approach, including the SHAPE California menu planning approaches, requires advance approval from the State. School districts currently participating in the SHAPE California project may continue to use their approved menu planning approaches.
C. Coordinated Review Effort (CRE)
USDA has redefined the criteria for evaluating all meals served to children.
- Performance Standard 2 (PS 2) - Meal Elements. The term Components has been changed to Meal Elements. It now states, "Lunches claimed for reimbursement within the school food authority contain meal elements (food items/components, menu, or other items, as applicable) as required under 7 CFR 210.10."
- CRE Review Thresholds for PS 2 - The thresholds have been modified. If 10 percent or more of the total number of program lunches observed in a school food authority are missing one or more of the required meal elements (food items/components, menu items or other items, as applicable) as required under 7 CFR 210.10, the threshold has been exceeded. If a sponsor triggers the PS 2 review threshold, they may be selected for a follow-up review [reference 7 CFR 210.18(2)(ii)].
- School Breakfast Programs and Meal Supplement Programs will be evaluated during all follow-up reviews.
Title 7 of the Code of Federal Regulations - Parts 210 and 220 (PDF; 861KB; 29pp.)