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Summer Food Service Program Meal Service Times

This management bulletin provides guidance on meal service time requirements in the Summer Food Service Program.

Nutrition Services Division Management Bulletin

Purpose: Policy, Action, Beneficial Information

To: Summer Food Service Program Operators

Attention: Program Operators

 

Number: SFSP-01-2024

Date: February 2024

Reference: Title 7, Code of Federal Regulations (7 CFR), Section 225.16(c)

Subject: Summer Food Service Program Meal Service Times


Background

On September 19, 2022, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the Final Rule: Streamlining Program Requirements and Improving Integrity in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP). The Final Rule modified Title 7, Code of Federal Regulations (7 CFR), Section 225.16(c) to remove previous meal service time requirements and codified new meal service time requirements for SFSP sites.

On December 29, 2023, the USDA published the Interim Final Rule: Establishing the Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) Program and Rural Non-Congregate Option in the Summer Meal Programs, which includes new definitions and requirements for non-congregate meal service in rural areas.

Meal Service Times

7 CFR, Section 225.16(c)requires that all SFSP operators establish meal service times for each site. California SFSP operators shall provide this information to the California Department of Education (CDE) through the Child Nutrition Information and Payment System (CNIPS).

7 CFR 225.16(c) outlines the following when establishing meal service times:

  • Requires that meals claimed as breakfast must be served at or close to the beginning of the day and cannot be served after lunch or supper (7 CFR 225.16[c][2]).
  • Requires that a minimum of one hour elapse between the end of one meal service and the beginning of the next at all sites except residential camps (7 CFR 225.16[c][3]).
  • Allows the CDE to approve reimbursement for meals served outside of the approved meal service time if an unanticipated event, outside of the sponsor's control, occurs (7 CFR 225.16[c][4][ii]). The CDE may request documentation to support approval of meals claimed when an unanticipated event occurs.
Meal Service Times for Rural Sites Offering a Non-congregate Meal Distribution

SFSP operators approved to operate a rural non-congregate meal option must follow meal service time requirements, as outlined in 7 CFR 225.16(c), however they are not required to adhere to the following two requirements:

  • Meals claimed as breakfast must be served at or close to the beginning of the day and cannot be served after lunch or supper (7 CFR 225.16[c][2]).
  • A minimum of one hour must elapse between the end of one meal service and the beginning of the next at all sites except residential camps (7 CFR 225.16[c][3]).
Compliance

In addition to the new requirements listed above for both congregate and non-congregate meal service, program operators are encouraged to establish meal service times that best accommodate the needs of participating children and each site’s operational requirements.

Program operators may adjust meal service times throughout the summer as deemed necessary. However, the CDE must approve all permanent, temporary, or proposed changes in meal service times (7 CFR 225.16[c][5]). Additionally, program operators should notify the community of any changes in meal service times.

Requests for meal service time changes must be submitted to the CDE through CNIPS before the effective date of the change. Failure to report changes to meal service times may result in meals served being disallowed and not eligible for reimbursement. (7 CFR 225.16[c][4][i]).

Resources

The complete Final Rule and a correction is available at the National Archives and Records Administration website, respectively Federal Register: Streamlining Program Requirements and Improving Integrity in the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) at https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2022/09/19/2022-20084/streamlining-program-requirements-and-improving-integrity-in-the-summer-food-service-program-sfsp and Federal Register: Streamlining Program Requirements and Improving Integrity in the Summer Food Service Program; Correction at https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2022/12/27/2022-28103/streamlining-program-requirements-and-improving-integrity-in-the-summer-food-service-program.

The complete Interim Final Rule is available at the National Archives and Records Administration website at https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2023/12/29/2023-28488/establishing-the-summer-ebt-program-and-rural-non-congregate-option-in-the-summer-meal-programs.

Contact Information

If you have questions regarding this subject, please contact the Summer Nutrition Programs and Grants Unit by email at SFSP@cde.ca.gov.

 

Questions:   Summer Nutrition Programs | SFSP@cde.ca.gov
Last Reviewed: Wednesday, February 21, 2024
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