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2022 KIT Guidance and Deadline Extension


The 2022 Kitchen Infrastructure and Training (KIT) Funds opt-in online registration form deadline is being extended to December 9, 2022, at 5 p.m. We recognize that your agency may need some additional time to consider the optional funding for freshly prepared onsite meals and, as a result, we have extended the deadline. We have also expanded and provided more detailed guidance regarding freshly prepared onsite meals, including some examples to help you determine if you are able to meet the threshold of 40 percent of a combination of National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP) meals served beginning next school year. Lastly, we have included information regarding agencies that receive vended meals.

This information will be added to our KIT Funds web page and is being shared via this listserv to facilitate your internal discussions.

MANDATORY ONLINE REGISTRATION FORM

  • UPDATED Deadline: December 9, 2022, at 5 p.m.

  • The online registration form is found on the 2022 KIT Funds web page, under the Guidelines tab

  • Late submissions will be allowed, but are not guaranteed funding

  • To assist in completing the online registration form, please be ready to estimate for the current school year, the percentage of:

    • California-grown foods purchased in your district
    • Meals that are freshly prepared onsite or in a central kitchen (scratch or speed scratch)

Funds Expenditure Deadline: Funds must be spent by June 30, 2025.

FRESHLY PREPARED ONSITE MEALS GUIDANCE

Section 132 of Assembly Bill 181 (AB 181): Education finance: education omnibus budget trailer bill, 2021–2022 defines a freshly prepared onsite meal as follows:

  • Freshly prepared onsite meal means food service in which the preparation of meals takes place on a daily basis at the site of consumption or in a central kitchen, using whole ingredients in their most basic, minimally processed form, or cooking with both fresh, raw, whole ingredients and ready-made products.

In addition, AB 181 states in part: …no less than 40 percent of reimbursable federal NSLP and federal SBP meals, including the entree and grains, prepared each week, beginning in the 2023–24 school year, shall be freshly prepared onsite meals.

Based on the language above, the two-meal preparation approaches below meet the definition of a freshly prepared onsite meal:

  1. Using exclusively whole ingredients in their most basic, minimally processed form. Examples of minimally processed in their most basic form can include whole, cut, sliced, diced, pureed, and fresh, frozen, canned, dried and still be considered minimally processed, or

  2. Cooking with both fresh, raw, whole ingredients in combination with ready-made products

Implementing either the first or second approach, or a combination of both, is allowable, provided all components of each full meal, including the grain and entrée, and comply with other requirements for an SBP and NSLP reimbursable meal.

For example, your entrée and grain can each be prepared using a combination of fresh and ready-made ingredients, often referred to as speed-scratch cooking, while the fruit, vegetable, and milk may be served in a minimally processed form. This example would constitute a freshly prepared onsite meal and would count toward the weekly minimum of 40 percent of freshly prepared onsite NLSP and SBP meals.

The guiding principles of this funding are to promote scratch cooking and meal preparation onsite or at your district’s central kitchen, and to move away from processed foods, heat and serve, pre-made entrees, and fillers in foods.

Minimally Processed Food Items

Foods may come in a wide variety of states (e.g., whole, cut, sliced, diced, pureed, etc.) and/or forms (e.g., fresh, frozen, canned, dried, etc.) and are still considered minimally processed. Examples of minimally processed foods from each of the reimbursable meal components are:

  • Fruits and vegetables (including 100 percent juice)
  • Pastas, rice, oatmeal
  • Meats (whole, pieces, or ground meat)
  • Meat alternates such as tofu, beans, and legumes
  • Fluid milk, cheese, yogurt

Processed Food Items

Foods that are generally understood to be prepared or significantly processed cannot be served as a stand-alone item in a freshly prepared onsite meal; unless the processed food item is incorporated or combined into the cooked meal that includes fresh, raw, or whole ingredients (e.g. cut, sliced, diced, pureed, minimally processed ingredients, that can then be cooked).

Examples of stand-alone processed food items that disqualify a meal from meeting the definition of a freshly prepared onsite meal include:

  • Commercially-prepared baked goods such as pastries, breads, and crackers
  • Cold breakfast cereals and hot instant cereals
  • Prepackaged items such as sandwiches, burgers, muffins, pancakes, and waffles
  • Other prepared and/or pre-cooked items that come ready-to-eat or that require no further preparation beyond heating (e.g., vended meals, chicken nuggets, breaded chicken patties, fish sticks, pre-made pizzas, etc.)

As a reminder, these items may qualify if cooked with fresh, raw, whole, or minimally processed ingredients.

Cooking with both fresh, raw, whole ingredients in combination with ready-made products

Meals may qualify as a freshly prepared onsite meal when cooked with both fresh, raw, or whole ingredients and ready-made ingredients. This process of meal preparation is often referred to as speed-scratch cooking. If you are serving a ready-made item, you must incorporate a fresh, raw, or whole ingredient in the minimum creditable quantity that contributes to one or more of the meal components.

Freshly Prepared Onsite Meals: Applying the Qualifying Criteria

Below is an example of a single meal and how it can be prepared in either of the approaches that meet the definition of a freshly prepared onsite meal as well as an example of the same meal prepared in a manner that does not qualify.

The meal: Pasta with meatballs and sauce, fresh fruit slices, steamed cut broccoli, and milk.

Qualifying Meals:
  1. Preparation Approach: Using exclusively whole ingredients in their most basic, minimally processed form (this can include whole, cut, pureed, and fresh, frozen, canned, dried, etc.)

    Meal: Pasta with scratch-made meatballs and sauce, with fresh fruit slices, steamed cut broccoli, and milk prepared onsite or in the district’s central kitchen.

    Discussion: The entrée includes pasta as the grain and scratch-made meatballs and sauce, all components are considered minimally processed. The fresh fruit slices, steamed cut broccoli, and milk are also all considered minimally processed. Each component within the meal uses exclusively whole ingredients in their most basic, minimally processed form. Therefore, this meal meets the definition of a freshly prepared onsite meal and can be counted toward meeting your 40 percent.

  2. Preparation Approach: Cooking with both fresh, raw, whole ingredients in combination with ready-made products:

    Meal: Pasta with scratch-made sauce and USDA meatballs, with fresh fruit slices, steamed cut broccoli, and milk prepared onsite or in the district’s central kitchen.

    Discussion: The scratch-made sauce meets the requirement of cooking with fresh, raw and whole ingredients. The scratch-made sauce is then combined with ready-made meatballs. When served with the remaining items which are all considered minimally processed, this meal meets the definition of a freshly prepared onsite meal. Note that this meal would also qualify if the meatballs were made from scratch and the sauce was commercially-prepared. This meal meets the definition of a freshly prepared onsite meal and can be counted toward meeting the 40 percent threshold.
Nonqualifying Meal:

Meal: Pasta cooked onsite with commercially-prepared sauce and commercially-prepared meatballs with fresh fruit slices, steamed cut broccoli, and milk prepared onsite or in the district’s central kitchen.

Discussion: While the pasta is considered minimally processed, in order for a meal to qualify as freshly prepared onsite meal, a food item when cooked with ready-made ingredients must also be cooked with fresh, raw, whole ingredients. In this case neither the sauce or the meatballs are cooked fresh, raw, whole ingredients. Therefore, because the entrée doesn’t meet the definition, this meal would not meet the definition of a freshly prepared onsite meal and would not count toward the 40 percent threshold.

Additional Examples of Qualifying Freshly Prepared Onsite Meals

The examples listed below are drawn from posted menus from School Food Authorities in California as well as Team Nutrition recipes. We will continue to add examples to our web page to assist you in examining your reimbursable meal options to determine if and how they could qualify as a freshly prepared onsite meal.

  1. Freshly prepared spicy chicken wrap with scratch-made slaw in a whole grain tortilla, a salad and a banana on the side, and milk.

    The spicy chicken wrap entrée, including the grain, would be considered a combination of fresh, raw, whole ingredients and a ready-made product, if prepared onsite or in the district’s central kitchen. The ready-made products include the breaded whole muscle chicken patty and whole wheat tortilla which are cooked in combination with the scratch-made spicy slaw. The salad, banana, and milk would be considered minimally processed. Thus, this meal meets the definition of a freshly prepared onsite meal and can be counted toward meeting the 40 percent threshold.

  2. Orange Chicken & Broccoli Brown Rice Bowl, fresh kiwi, milk.

    The brown rice and steamed cut broccoli are fresh, raw, whole ingredients (and also considered minimally processed), and, when cooked onsite or in the district’s central kitchen in combination with the ready-made frozen, pre-cooked orange chicken, the entrée, including the grain, now meets the requirements. When served in combination with fresh kiwi and milk, which are minimally processed, this meal meets the requirements for a freshly prepared onsite meal and can be counted toward meeting the 40 percent.

  3. Chicken salad sandwich on whole grain bread, celery sticks, banana, and milk.

    The chicken salad, prepared onsite with a mixture of commercially-prepared cooked chicken cubes, celery, onions, and red bell pepper, garnished with lettuce and tomato and served on whole grain bread is considered a mixture of fresh, raw, whole ingredients in combination with the ready-made whole grain-rich bread. When served with the celery sticks, banana, and milk, all considered minimally processed, this meal meets the requirements for a freshly prepared onsite meal and can be counted toward meeting the 40 percent threshold.

  4. Hamburger (or Cheeseburger), canned peach slices, frozen peas, and milk.

    Raw 100 percent ground beef hamburger, such as a grass-fed patty, with no added fillers, cooked onsite and served, with or without cheese, on a whole grain-rich roll is considered a combination of fresh, raw, whole ingredients cooked in combination with ready-made products. When served with frozen peas, canned peach slices, and milk, all considered minimally processed, this meal meets the requirements for a freshly prepared onsite meal and can be counted toward meeting the 40 percent threshold.

  5. Pizza bread, carrot sticks, apple slices, and milk.

    Pizza sauce made from scratch used in combination with a prepared whole grain-rich roll or crust and topped with cheese and pepperoni and cooked onsite or in the district’s central kitchen is considered an entrée cooked with a combination of ready-made products and fresh, raw, whole ingredients. When served with carrot sticks, apple slices, and milk, all considered minimally processed, this meal meets the requirements for a freshly prepared onsite meal and can be counted toward meeting the 40 percent threshold.

  6. Whole Grain Green Chili Pork Burrito scratch-cooked (slow roasted pork, green chilies, black beans, rice, roasted red peppers), grilled fajita vegetables and seasonal fruit.

    Scratch-cooked, slow roasted chili pork prepared in combination with whole black beans and roasted red peppers and served in a ready-made tortilla qualifies this entrée as it is a combination of ready-made products cooked with fresh, raw, whole ingredients. When served with grilled peppers and onions and seasonal fruit, which are minimally processed, this is a qualifying freshly prepared onsite meal.

  7. Chili Cheese nachos, whole kernel corn, peaches, and milk.

    Scratch-cooked chili served over whole grain corn chips qualifies this entrée as it is a combination of ready-made products cooked with fresh, raw, whole ingredients. When served with whole kernel corn, canned peaches, and milk, which are minimally processed, the meal meets the definition of a freshly prepared onsite meal which can be counted towards the 40 percent threshold.

  8. Sunrise breakfast burrito served with 100 percent juice.

    The Sunrise breakfast burrito is comprised of scratch-cooked sausage crumbles; chopped, frozen onion; canned, whole black beans; prepared scrambled eggs; shredded cheese; and served in a whole grain tortilla. This entree qualifies as a combination of fresh, raw, whole ingredients cooked with ready-made products. When served with 100 percent juice, which is considered minimally processed, the meal qualifies as a freshly prepared onsite meal. This meal can be counted towards the 40 percent threshold.

    If the sunrise burrito filling was prepared using pre-cooked sausage crumbles and mixed with shelled, fluid eggs, then cooked with chopped, frozen onion, and canned whole black beans, the meal would still qualify with the raw eggs and whole beans being fresh, raw, whole ingredients cooked with the ready-made pre-cooked sausage crumbles.

VENDED MEALS

Local educational agencies (LEAs) that receive vended meals are eligible for 2022 KIT base funding ($100,000) as well as the proportional funding based on the number of NSLP and SBP meals claimed in October 2021. These funds must be used on district kitchen infrastructure upgrades that will increase a school’s capacity to prepare meals served through a federal school meal program, including for freshly prepared onsite meals, to serve fresh and nutritious school meals using minimally processed, locally grown, and sustainable food, or for expanding meal options for pupils with restricted diets. If your agency is not able to use these funds in this manner, you are not required to apply.

LEAs that receive vended meals can receive the optional funding for freshly prepared onsite meals. In order to meet the criteria that no less than 40 percent of reimbursable NSLP and SBP meals meet the definition of a freshly prepared onsite meal beginning in the 2023–24 school year, LEAs must be able to serve a combination of vended meals and meals freshly prepared onsite or in the school district’s central kitchen. Vended meals do not meet the definition of a freshly prepared onsite meal and therefore do not count towards the 40 percent threshold. To qualify for this additional funding opportunity, at minimum 40 percent of reimbursable NSLP and SBP meals prepared each week shall qualify as freshly prepared onsite meals; LEAs may choose to vend the remaining 60 percent.

The funds earned as a result of this attestation must be used for planning and implementation of facility improvements and equipment upgrades to increase capacity for freshly prepared onsite meal preparation. Additional allowable uses for this funding include cooking, serving, storage, and transportation equipment and infrastructure as well as costs for planning and costs associated with implementing freshly prepared onsite reimbursable school meals, serving fresh and nutritious reimbursable school meals using California-grown food, or expanding reimbursable meal options for pupils with restricted diets. These funds cannot be used to support vended meal service.

CONTACT INFORMATION

After reviewing the KIT Funds web page found on the California Department of Education (CDE) website, if you have any questions regarding this subject, please contact the CDE KIT Funds Team by email at KITfunds@cde.ca.gov.

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Monday, November 21, 2022
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