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Taking Food Components Off-site


Important Notice: CACFP Program Moved to CDSS

The Early Childhood Development Act of 2020 (Senate Bill (SB) 98, Chapter 24, Statutes of 2020) authorized the transfer of child care and development programs administered by the California Department of Education to the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) effective July 1, 2021. The content on this page may not be current and involves the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) that has moved to CDSS. Visit the CDSS CACFP web page External link opens in new window or tab. or call 1-833-559-2420 for more information.

Nutrition Services Division Management Bulletin

Purpose: Policy, Beneficial Information

To: Child Nutrition Program Sponsors

Attention: Food Program and Food Service Directors

Number: CACFP-10-2017

Date: May 2017

Reference: U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service Policy Memorandum CACFP 10-2017

Supersedes: Management Bulletin CACFP-09-2016

Subject: Taking Food Components Off-site in the At-risk Afterschool Meals Program


This Management Bulletin (MB) extends the flexibility to take certain food items off-site in the At-risk Afterschool Meals Program similar to the flexibility permitted in both the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). Given the nature of the At-risk Afterschool Meals Program and its similarities to the SFSP and NSLP, this allowance only applies to the At-risk Afterschool Meals Program. This MB supersedes MB CACFP-09-2016 Taking Food Components Off-site in the At-risk Afterschool Meals Program.

Similar to all child nutrition programs (CNP), meals served in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) are intended to be consumed in settings where organized groups of eligible children and adults are gathered to eat. This means that children must consume meals on site in order for the meals to be reimbursable. If meals are consumed off-site, such as during a field trip, the CACFP agency must first receive approval from the California Department of Education Nutrition Services Division (NSD). Failure to meet this congregate feeding requirement will result in the disallowance of meals and may lead to a determination of serious deficiency in the program.

However, for a variety of reasons, some children may want to save some food items to eat at a later time. In light of this, and given the similarities of the CACFP At-risk Afterschool Meals Program with the SFSP and NSLP, CACFP at-risk afterschool agencies may now allow children to take one vegetable, fruit, or grain item off-site to eat at a later time. The food item a child takes off-site must be from the child’s own meal or snack, or left on a share table by another child. For more information regarding sharing tables, review MB CNP-03-2018 Share Tables for all CNP on the California Department of Education NSD Web page located at https://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/nu/sn/mbcnp032018.asp.

Even though CACFP at-risk afterschool institutions do not need prior state agency approval, they must ensure that allowing food items to be taken off-site is in compliance with local and state health and safety codes.

At-risk afterschool institutions are encouraged to use this flexibility to increase children’s consumption of vegetables and fruit, and help reduce potential food waste in the CACFP. Nonetheless, to prevent any food safety or program integrity issues from arising, at-risk afterschool institutions must have the capacity to monitor their sites when food items are being taken off-site. If the NSD determines there is inadequate oversight, and therefore, an increased risk of food safety and program integrity issues, the NSD may prohibit flexibility. The NSD’s decision to prohibit food items to be taken off-site is not an appealable action.

Contact Information

If you have any questions regarding this subject, please contact your county’s CACFP specialist. A list of CACFP specialists is available in the Download Forms section of the Child Nutrition Information and Payment System, Form ID CACFP 01. You can also contact Kayla Christensen, Community Nutrition Programs Administration Office Technician, by email at KChristensen@cde.ca.gov or by phone at 916-324-6153 or 800-952-5609, Option 3, to be directed to your CACFP specialist.

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Friday, June 11, 2021
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