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CACFP Administrative Manual Section 9.2

Child and Adult Care Food Program Administrative Manual Section 9.2: Preparing Meals.

Table of Contents
Terms, Definitions, and Acronyms

Section 9: Menu Planning and Preparing Meals

Section 9.2 Preparing Meals

Centers and DCH providers may use a variety of meal preparation systems, depending on factors such as type of menu desired, budget, and availability of food service equipment, space, and personnel.

Meals may be prepared in one or more of the following ways:

  • On-site (self-preparation)—meals are prepared by center staff or DCH providers, and served at the same location.

  • Central kitchen—meals are prepared by agency staff at a central location and transported to the agency’s centers or homes.

  • Vending—meals are prepared by an SFA, commercial food service vendor, or other private agency, and transported to the agency’s centers or homes. The organization preparing meals must enter into a contract with the agency.

On-site

Meals prepared on-site by center staff must be supported with MPRs, if applicable. Refer to the MPR section above for more information. 

Central Kitchen

If meals are prepared in a central kitchen, transport equipment must maintain the appropriate temperature for all food until it is served. Temperature levels must meet the requirements under state or local health laws. Contact your local health department for more guidance.

Centers and DCH providers must maintain transport records to demonstrate that a sufficient quantity of each required meal component is transported from the central kitchen to sites and homes. A sample transport record, Form ID CACFP 66: Sample Transport Record, can be found in the Download Forms section of the CNIPS. Meals prepared at a central kitchen must be supported with MPRs, if applicable. Refer to the MPR section above for more information. 

Vended Meals

An agency may contract with a food vendor to provide any or all meals. Refer to the CDE Procurement in CNPs Web page for more information on complying with procurement standards. Sample vending agreement templates are located in the Download Forms section of the CNIPS:

  • Form ID CACFP 17: Standard Food Service Vending Agreement (Delivery)—used for vending contracts under $150,000
  • Form ID CACFP 19: Invitation For Bid Package—used for vending contracts $150,000 or more
  • Form ID CACFP 20: Month to Month Vending Contract—used for month to month vending contracts

Transport records are required for all meals that are vended.

Reporting a Central Kitchen or Food Service Vendor in the CNIPS

If an agency’s meals are prepared in a central kitchen or by a food service vendor, the agency must complete a Vendor/Central Kitchen Information page in the CNIPS for each central kitchen or vendor.

Reference: 7 CFR, sections 226.6(i), 226.15(e)(10), 226.20, and 226.22(c); MB CNP-01-2018 Senate Bill 544 (McGuire)—State Small Purchase Threshold Amount, MB CACFP-07-2017 Clarification on Documenting Meals in the Child and Adult Care Food Program, MB CNP-07-2015 Guidance for Accepting Processed Product Documentation for Meal Pattern Requirements

Questions:   Nancy Charpentier | ncharpentier@cde.ca.gov | 916-327-2991
Last Reviewed: Monday, June 11, 2018
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