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Requirements to Operate a New School Meal Program


This webpage reminds Program Operators of the requirements to add a School Nutrition Program (SNP) to their existing meal service agreements. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service recently released policy memos in effect for School Year (SY) 2021–22 including COVID–19: Child Nutrition Response #85External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF), allowing for operation of the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) Seamless Summer Option (SSO), and COVID–19: Child Nutrition Response #93External link opens in new window or tab. (PDF), waiving the area eligibility requirements of the NSLP Afterschool Meal Supplement (AMS) Program, commonly referred to as afterschool snack.

Due to the flexibilities provided by these waivers for SY 2021–22, there may be an increased interest in operating additional school nutrition programs, such as the School Breakfast Program (SBP) or the NSLP AMS Program. Program Operators that have not already been approved for SBP or AMS must apply to operate the program and receive approval from the California Department of Education (CDE) prior to beginning new meal services. The application and approval process is only required for program operators that have not previously operated the SBP or AMS Program. Program Operators that have already been approved for SBP or AMS service at one or more of their sites do not need to go through the application process again in order to add the meal service program(s) to additional sites.

To obtain approval for a new meal program, Program Operators are required to submit menu documentation and update their Child Nutrition Information and Payment System (CNIPS)External link opens in new window or tab. application packet to reflect the meal service they wish to add. Program Operators cannot receive reimbursement for a new meal program until all necessary application steps have been fulfilled and the request to add a new meal program has been approved by the CDE Nutrition Services Division.

For additional information regarding the SBP please see the CDE’s School Breakfast Program web page.

For additional information regarding the AMS please see the CDE’s Meal Supplements Under the NSLP web page.

Contact Information

If you are interested in applying to add a new meal program,please contact your SNP County Specialist. The list of SNP Specialists is available in the Download Forms section of the (CNIPS)External link opens in new window or tab., Form ID Caseload.

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Thursday, June 17, 2021
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