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Allowable Costs for Excess/Leftover Meals


Nutrition Services Division Management Bulletin

Purpose: Policy, Beneficial Information

To: All Summer Food Service Program Sponsors

Attention: Program Operator

Number: SFSP-01-2018

Date: June 2018

Reference: U.S. Department of Agriculture All Points Bulletin SFS-99-12

Supersedes: Nutrition Services Division Management Bulletin 02-705

Subject: Allowable Costs for Excess/Leftover Meals in the Summer Food Service Program


This management bulletin provides guidance for sponsors on ordering and preparing Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) meals with the intent of providing one meal per child per meal service. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) All Points Bulletin SFS-99-12 states that the USDA, “… will allow costs related to excess meals only if the total number of leftovers was not over a reasonable percentage of eligible first and second meals served during the claim month.” The USDA also recommends that state agencies establish an acceptable threshold for excess and leftover meals. The Nutrition Services Division has established 10 percent to be a reasonable percentage when calculating the number of excess meals that may be included as part of allowable operating costs.

Excess meals include complete meals served to children after they have received an eligible first and second meal. Meals not served to children, often referred to as leftovers, are also considered excess meals. Meals served to program adults are not included when calculating excess meals.

The operating costs associated with producing or procuring meals are allowable when excess meals do not exceed 10 percent of eligible first and second meals served to children. If the number of excess meals is over the 10 percent threshold, then the costs associated with the excess meals may not be included in operational costs.

For example, a sponsor orders 100 meals for lunch service. The sponsor serves 90 first meals and 2 second meals. The sponsor is left with 8 excess meals from this meal service. Because 8 excess meals is less than 10 percent of the total 92 first and second meals served, the operator may include the excess meals in their operating costs. If the number of excess meals was greater than 10 percent of the total first and second meals served, then the excess meals may not be included in approved operating costs.

While SFSP sponsors should always intend to provide one meal per child per meal service, sponsors are allowed to include a limited number of second meals served in their claim for reimbursement. The number of second meals served that may be claimed for reimbursement must not exceed 2 percent of first meals served. If it is determined that the sponsor failed to plan, prepare, or order meals with the objective of providing only one meal per child at each meal service at a site, then second meals may be disallowed.

This policy is consistent with Food and Nutrition Service Instruction 796-4, Revision 4, Title 7, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 225, and the 2016 SFSP Administrative Guidance for Sponsors. Please share this information with all appropriate staff.

Contact Information

If you have any questions regarding this subject, please contact the Community Nutrition Programs Administration Unit Office Technician by phone at 916-324-6153 or 800-952-5609, Option 3, or by email at sfsp@cde.ca.gov, to be directed to your Summer Meals Program Specialist.

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Tuesday, August 4, 2020
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