THE STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT / THE UNIVERSITY OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK / ALBANY, NY 12234
Office of P-20 Education Policy
It has come to our attention that some schools are serving and claiming inappropriate cheese items as their meat/meat alternate component. There are certain types of cheese products that are not allowable to count toward the meat/meat alternate component.
Cheese items labeled “imitation cheese” or “cheese product” are not valid types of cheese and cannot be counted as meat/meat alternates. These types of cheese items have never been creditable components in the Child Nutrition Programs.
If you choose to continue to use items labeled “cheese product” or “imitation cheese,” you must not count these meals for reimbursement or ensure that each meal also contains a creditable meat/meat alternate. Cheese spreads and cheese foods that are creditable can be found in the Food Buying Guide for Child Nutrition Programs in Section 1 pages 23-25.
School Meal Programs that are found noncompliant with this cheese requirement will be subject to money being reclaimed for all meals claimed inappropriately.
To ensure that creditable products are being used, we encourage schools to use products that contain the CN label. The CN label is placed on products that are creditable for reimbursement in Child Nutrition Programs. More information about CN labeling can be found in the Food Buying Guide in Appendix C.
Any questions regarding cheese items should be directed to your respective Child Nutrition Representative.