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Meat/Meat Alternate and Grain Maximums

Nutrition Services Division Management Bulletin
Purpose: Policy, Beneficial Information
To: School Nutrition Program Sponsors Number USDA-SNP-47-2012
Attention: Food Service Directors Date: December 2012
Subject: Flexibility in the Meat/Meat Alternate and Grain Maximums for School Year 2012–13
Reference: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service Policy Memo SP11-2013

This Management Bulletin (MB) provides important information to school food authorities (SFA) on changes to the limits established for Meats/Meat Alternates and Grains under the Final Rule: Nutrition Standards in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs (Title 7, Code of Federal Regulations, parts 210 and 220).

As required by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released updated nutrition standards for the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program in January 2012. These new standards, based upon the most current nutrition science and effective July 1, 2012, established daily minimum servings (in ounce equivalents) for Meats/Meat Alternates and Grains, as well as weekly minimum and maximum ranges based upon age/grade groups. The standards also set minimum daily portion sizes for fruits and vegetables, weekly minimums for specific vegetable subgroups, restrictions on milk types offered, weekly calorie ranges based upon age/grade groups, and limits on saturated fat. SFAs certified by state agencies (SA) as compliant with the new standards are eligible to receive an additional six cents per lunch reimbursement.

Flexibility in Meat/Meat Alternate and Grain Maximums

Noting that SFAs have experienced numerous challenges in meeting the Meat/Meat Alternate and Grain ranges while maintaining varied menus featuring items popular with students, the USDA issued Policy Memo SP 11-2013, lifting the daily and weekly maximums for these two components for the remainder of the 2012–13 School Year (SY).

While the USDA has lifted the weekly maximums for these two components, SFAs must consider the following in menu planning:

Important Considerations

The California Department of Education, Nutrition Services Division (NSD) is in the process of reviewing SFA Certification of Compliance packets to determine eligibility for the additional six cents per lunch reimbursement. As NSD moves forward with implementation, the following policy changes have gone into effect:

The USDA will continue to monitor implementation of the New Meal Pattern requirements and gather feedback from SFAs and SAs in determining adjustments for future years. The NSD will keep SFAs apprised of any future adjustment as USDA guidance is issued.

Additional Information

If you have questions regarding this MB, you may contact Grace Huppert, Nutrition Education Consultant, by phone at 916-322-1563, or by e-mail at You may also contact your Field Services Unit Child Nutrition Consultant by phone at 916-445-0850.

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
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