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Office of P-20 Education Policy
Child Nutrition Program Administration
89 Washington Avenue, Room 375 EBA, Albany, NY 12234
Phone: (518) 473-8781 Fax: (518) 473-0018

School Food Service Directors/Managers
Frances N. O'Donnell, Coordinator
Monday, August 1, 2005

We are often asked whether it is acceptable to offer condiments such as mayonnaise, ketchup and mustard with  school meals, since some condiments are high in salt, sugar or fat and they add to the cost of meals.

Federal regulations allow condiments to be served as long as they fit into the dietary specifications for the age/grade group served. In fact, the use of condiments will often encourage the consumption of school lunches and breakfasts (e.g., ketchup on French fries or hamburgers, dressing on salads, sugar on breakfast cereals). Students are less likely to purchase a meal at school if they are unable to
"dress" the meal to their liking by using condiments.

The use of condiments is left to the discretion of the individual school food authority (SFA). However, it is our recommendation that, when addressing this issue, consideration be given to the financial status of the program. The use of condiments can affect program participation and therefore affect the revenues the program is able to generate. In a self-supporting program, a drop in participation can prove disastrous.

Our office encourages, but does not require schools to serve, within reason, those items, which help to promote student participation.

USDA Nondiscrimination Statement

In accordance with federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation), disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity.

Program information may be made available in languages other than English. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication to obtain program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language), should contact the responsible state or local agency that administers the program or USDA’s TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.

To file a program discrimination complaint, a Complainant should complete a Form AD-3027, USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form which can be obtained online at:, from any USDA office, by calling (866) 632-9992, or by writing a letter addressed to USDA. The letter must contain the complainant’s name, address, telephone number, and a written description of the alleged discriminatory action in sufficient detail to inform the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights (ASCR) about the nature and date of an alleged civil rights violation. The completed AD-3027 form or letter must be submitted to USDA by:

  1. mail:
    U.S. Department of Agriculture
    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
    1400 Independence Avenue, SW
    Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; or
  2. fax:
    (833) 256-1665 or (202) 690-7442; or
  3. email:

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

Click here for Nondiscrimination Statement translations.