USDA Policy Memos

July 2023 - June 2024

Initial Implementation Memorandum: Child Nutrition Program Integrity Final Rule
Summer EBT Eligibility, Certification, and Verification
Twenty-sixth Release of the Child Nutrition Database (Action Steps for State Agencies, School Food Authorities, and Local Schools: After September 18, 2023, State Agencies, SFAs, and local schools should verify with their nutrient analysis software company to ensure that the software includes the most current).

July 2022- June 2023



SP07-2020: Paid Lunch Equity: Guidance for School Year 2020-2021

This memo provides guidance for the Paid Lunch Equity Tool for SY21.

SP06-2020: School Breakfast Program: Continuation of the Substitution of Vegetables for Fruit Flexibility

This memo discusses that School food authorities (SFAs) participating in the School Breakfast Program (SBP) may continue to credit any vegetable offered, including potatoes and other starchy vegetables, in place of fruit without including vegetables from other subgroups in the weekly menus through June 30, 2021.

SP 05-2020: Questions & Answers Regarding Professional Standards for State and Local School Nutrition Program Personnel 

This Q & A memorandum is designed to provide an overview of the policies related to the Professional Standards regulations for State and local school nutrition program personnel. 


SP 03-2019: NSLP and SBP: Questions and Answers for Charter Schools

FNS is providing updated Questions and Answers for charter school participation in the NSLP, the SBP and other Child Nutrition Programs. Since charter schools are held to the same standards for operating CNPs as traditional public or non-profit private schools, this memorandum does not contain any new CNP policies. Program operators can use the Q&As as a resource to assist charter schools and non-profit private, rural, or small schools that have similar questions to operate successful CNPs. This memorandum supersedes SP 07-2008: Charter School Involvement in the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs, January 15, 2008.

SP 32-2019: Buy American and Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018

This memorandum addresses information in the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 regarding the Buy American requirements in the national school meal programs.

Questions and Answers on the Final Rule Child Nutrition Programs: Flexibilities for Milk, Whole Grains, and Sodium Requirements

This memorandum provides Questions and Answers on the final rule Child Nutrition Programs: Flexibilities for Milk, Whole Grains, and Sodium Requirements (83 FR 63775, December 12, 2018), which provides menu planning flexibilities in the CNPs. These flexibilities went into effect July 1, 2019, for the 2019-202 school year. 

Meal Requirements under the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program: Questions and Answers for Program Operators:

This memorandum includes Questions and Answers updated to incorporate changes codified by two final rules: (1) Child and Adult Care Food Program: Meal Pattern Revisions Related to the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (81 CFR 24348, published April 25, 2016) and (2) Child Nutrition Programs: Flexibilities for Milk, Whole Grains, and Sodium Requirements (83 FR 63775, December 12, 2018). This document also includes updated crediting questions and a new Resources section. Outdated references, citations, and questions have been removed throughout the document, and minor edits were made to clarify content. 

Clarification on the Milk and Water Requirements in the School Meal Programs:

This updated memorandum clarifies regulations that water made available to students in the NSLP and SBP shall not compete with the milk requirement. While water must be made available, schools must not directly or indirectly restrict the sale or marketing of fluid milk.

Smoothies Offered in the Child Nutrition Programs:

This updated memorandum clarifies juice and yogurt allowances based on the childcare and preschool meal pattern updates and incorporates the meal pattern flexibilities related to flavored milk. This memorandum also changes the policy for commercially prepared smoothies. Commercially prepared smoothies can now contribute to the meat/meat alternate, fruit, vegetable, and milk components of the Federal meal requirements for all CNPs.

Salad Bars in the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program:

This memorandum includes policy changes and general updates to outdated resources/website links and updated questions and answers. This memorandum provides State agencies with information on how salad bars can effectively improve the service of reimbursable meals and includes information on portion size, location of the salad bar, production records, and food safety.




SP 37-2017:Flexibility for Co-Mingled Preschool Meals: Questions and Answers 

This memorandum provides guidance on meals served to preschoolers when they are in the same service area at the same time as grade K-5 students, and it includes Questions and Answers.