THE STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT / THE UNIVERSITY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK / ALBANY, NY 12234
Office of P-20 Education Policy
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued the updated Questions and Answers and Offer Versus Serve (OVS) Guidance Manual on June 14, 2013. The following provides a brief overview of the changes outlined in those documents.
At breakfast, schools must offer all three required food components in at least the minimum required amounts. The components are: grains (with the optional meats/meat alternates); juice/fruit/vegetable; and milk.
Under OVS, a student must be offered at least four food items and must select at least three food items for a reimbursable meal. The previous guidance stated that a student could “decline only one food item even if more items are offered”. The menu planner may offer the grains component in one or more different food items.
The menu planner determines how to credit the food items. For example, the menu planner has the discretion to offer a 2 oz eq muffin as one or two food items. For Offer Versus Serve, if the menu planner offers this as one food item, the menu planner must offer three additional food items and the student must select any three food items for a reimbursable meal. If the menu planner offers the 2 oz eq muffin as two food items, the menu planner must offer 2 other food items and the student must select three food items for a reimbursable meal.
Examples: Muffin 2 oz eq. (offered as one food item) Toast 1 oz. eq. Fruit ½ cup Milk 8 fl oz Muffin 2 oz eq. (offered as two food items) Fruit ½ cup Milk 8 fl oz. *
*In both of these examples the menu planner is offering 4 food items and students must select at least three items in their minimum required amounts for a reimbursable meal for all grade levels.