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Q and A on New Meal Pattern, Fourth Revision

Nutrition Services Division Management Bulletin
Purpose: Policy, Beneficial Information
To: National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program Sponsors Number USDA-SNP-42-2012
Attention: Food Service Director Date: November 2012
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 September 18, 2012

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.

The policy memo includes original, revised, and new questions and answers on a number of important topics. The questions in this Management Bulletin are new unless indicated as revised or deleted.


1. Purpose of USDA implementing the NMP (Revised)

Fruits and Vegetables

8. Minimum amount of fruit and vegetables that can be credited toward the NMP (Revised)

21. Is dried fruit with sugar coating allowed (Revised)

39. Un-monitored salad bar after the Point of Service (POS)

40. Using documented data from the manufacturer for vegetable blends

41. Assessing juice limit if multiple vegetables/fruits and juices are offered

42. Crediting juice concentrate

43. Using locally-canned foods

Meat/Meat Alternate

8. Purpose of limiting meat/meat alternate under the NMP (Revised)


2. Does the 50 percent guideline for whole grain-rich apply to grain content or weight of the product? (Revised)

13. Do grains on the serving line have to be whole grain-rich? (Revised)

21. Examples of non-crediting grain ingredients 

22. Crediting grains in Exhibit A of USDA’s Policy Memo SP 30-2012

23. Identifying grain-based desserts in Exhibit A of USDA’s Policy Memo SP 30-2012

24. Evaluating ready to eat breakfast cereals for fortification


1. Allowed milk offerings for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the School Breakfast Program (Revised)

3. Allowed milk offerings for other school programs (Revised)

4. Allowed milk offerings for Residential Child Care Institutions (RCCI)


1. May RCCI’s obtain a waiver on calorie maximums for highly active residents (Deleted)  

2. Offering more calories to athletes and pregnant women (Revised)

3. Purpose for maximum calories (Revised)

4. Purpose of limiting calories under the NMP

Menu Planning

5. Offering extra food not crediting toward the NMP (Revised)

6. Offering second servings (Revised)

9.  Accounting for leftovers under the NMP (Revised)

10. Charging for additional servings

11. Requiring students to select a variety of vegetables

12. Accounting for free or extra foods after the POS (Revised)   

13. Offering free beverages after the POS

14. Creative approaches to menu planning

15. Centralized menus under the NMP

Age/Grade Groups

3. Menu planning for age/grade groups seven through twelfth grade

Nutrient Analysis

6. Accounting for self-serve food items


8. Crediting peanuts or peanut butter

9. Serving non-creditable meat/meat alternates and grain products

10. Crediting unrecognizable pureed fruits and vegetables

11. Crediting unrecognizable vegetables in soup

13. Crediting vegetables in desserts

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 School Breakfast Programs, please contact Desiree Rojo, Child Nutrition Assistant, by phone at 916-323-0213, or by e-mail at

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