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Q and A on the New Meal Pattern, Fifth Revision

Nutrition Services Division Management Bulletin
Purpose: Policy, Beneficial Information
To: National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program Sponsors Number USDA-SNP-08-2013
Attention: Food Service Director Date: March 2013
Subject: Questions and Answers on the Final Rule, Nutrition Standards in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs—Revised
Reference: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service, Policy Memo SP 10‑2012, revised January 25, 2013

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), has issued Policy Memo SP 10-2012—Revised, Questions and Answers on the Final Rule, Nutrition Standards in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. The FNS issued the memo to provide additional responses to questions regarding the New Meal Pattern (NMP) requirements established under Section 201 of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, Public Law 111-296. Policy Memo SP 10-2012 is available on the USDA School Meals Policy Memos Web page at

The revised memo includes original, revised, new questions and answers, and questions with notes added on a number of important topics. The complete questions and answers are located in Policy Memo SP 10-2012. For ease of reference, new, revised, and noted added questions, along with their corresponding numbers, are listed below by category.

Fruits and Vegetables

1. Fruit requirements to meet the NMP (Revised)

20. Allowing frozen fruit with added sugar under the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) (Revised)

22. Offering hash browns for breakfast as an “extra” (Revised)

Meat/Meat Alternate

 1. Daily meat/meat alternate (M/MA) requirements under the School Breakfast Program (SBP) (Revised)

8. Daily and weekly M/MA ranges under the NSLP (Revised and note added)

9. Daily minimums for M/MA for kindergarten through eighth grades under the NSLP (New)


4. Exceeding the maximum weekly grains under the NSLP (Revised and note added)

8. Minimum daily grain requirements under the SBP (Revised and note added)

10. Maximum daily grain requirements (Revised and note added)

15. Counting breading for 2012–13 school year under the NSLP (Note added)

17. Ensuring grain and M/MA ranges are met when using a salad bar (Revised and note added)

21. Grains considered non-creditable (Revised)

25. Acceptable whole grain health claims (New)

Meal Patterns

1. Serving meals in Residential Child Care Institutions and small kindergarten through twelfth grade schools (Revised and note added)

7.  Meeting the NMP on field trips (Note added)

Menu Planning

8. Serving yogurt for breakfast as an “extra” (Revised)

16. Crediting fruit in desserts toward the NMP for lunch (New)

Multiple Offerings

1. Calculating minimum and maximum grains when multiple entrees are offered (Note added)

Offer versus Serve

1. Implementing Offer versus Serve (OVS) under the final rule (Revised)

7. Offering multiple food items at lunch to meet the grain and M/MA requirements (Revised)

8. Pre-plating under OVS (Note added)

9. Requiring students to pre-order or pre-select meals under OVS (New)

10. Requiring daily choices within each food component under OVS (New)


9. Serving non-creditable M/MA or grain products (Note added)

14. Crediting fruit with different sizes than listed in the Food Buying Guide (New)

16. Crediting herbs (New)

The FNS will continue to revise this memo as questions arise during implementation of the NMP requirements. To support School Nutrition Program implementation efforts, the Nutrition Services Division will continue to provide updates as they become available.

For more information on the NMP requirements for the NSLP and SBP, please contact Desiree Rojo, Child Nutrition Assistant, by phone at 916-323-0213 or by e-mail at

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