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SNP Meal Pattern Waiver for SY 2021–22—REMINDER

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Main Web Page

This web page provides an important reminder for meal pattern waiver (MPW) changes.

All School Nutrition Program (SNP) Operators are encouraged to request meal pattern flexibilities described on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) COVID-19 Child Nutrition Response #90 web pageExternal link opens in new window or tab..

Effective October 1, 2021, the USDA authorized flexibility to the following meal pattern requirements that SNP Operators can opt into for School Year (SY) 2021–22:

  • Menus must meet the dietary specification for sodium
  • All grains offered must be whole grain-rich
  • For preschoolers, at least one serving per day, across all eating occasions, must be whole grain-rich
  • A variety of vegetables from the vegetable subgroups must be offered
  • Low-fat (1 percent) milk must be unflavored
  • A variety (at least two different options) of fluid milk must be offered
  • Menus must be planned and offer food components for specified age and grade groups in the stated combinations

Opt into the SNP MPW on the California Department of Education (CDE) SNP MPW Application web page.

Remember, as of October 1, 2021, all previous MPW approvals under COVID-19 Child Nutrition Response #74 expire.

In an effort to reduce administrative burden, the Nutrition Services Division (NSD) will only require SNP Operators to opt into the MPW one time during SY 2021–22. Any approved MPW application showing the October 1, 2021 through December 31, 2021 dates are automatically valid through June 30, 2022.

The goal and intent of the MPW is for SNP Operators to resume the traditional meal pattern when possible. The NSD recognizes that there are ongoing COVID-19 related supply chain challenges, so SNP Operators are encouraged to apply for the MPW.

For more information, review the Meal Pattern Flexibilities entry in the SNP tab of the CDE COVID-19 Guidance for Child Nutrition Programs web page.

Additionally, the USDA has developed a customizable family letter template that explains the current supply chain challenges. It can be found on the USDA Customizable Letter to Families About School Menus web page External link opens in new window or tab..

Contact Information

Contact the CDE SNP MPW Team by email at if you have any questions.

Questions:   Nutrition Services Division | 800-952-5609
Last Reviewed: Thursday, September 30, 2021
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