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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
Paula Tyner-Doyle, Coordinator
Thursday, June 21, 2018
Child Nutrition Programs’ Flexibilities for School Year 2018-2019

Click here for the original SP 18-2018 memo released by USDA.

An interim final rule published on November 30, 2017 (82 FR 56703) provides Child Nutrition Program (CNP) operators targeted flexibilities for milk, whole grains, and sodium requirements for School Year (SY) 2018-2019.  This memorandum summarizes the flexibilities that will be effective July 1, 2018.  The following three flexibilities apply to SY 2018-2019 only.  USDA is currently developing a final rule that will address the availability of flexibilities beyond SY 2018-2019.

Milk: Operators in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the School Breakfast Program (SBP) will have the option to offer flavored, low-fat (1 percent fat) milk as part of a reimbursable meal for students in grades K through 12.  Flavored, low-fat (1 percent fat) milk may be provided to Special Milk Program and Child and Adult Care Food Program participants 6 years of age and older.  No demonstration of hardship will be required.  Schools will also be able to offer flavored, low-fat milk as a competitive beverage for sale.

Whole grains: State agencies will continue to have discretion to grant whole grain-rich exemptions to School Food Authorities (SFAs) that can demonstrate hardship(s) in procuring, preparing, or serving specific products that are acceptable to students and compliant with the whole grain-rich criteria.  SFAs that receive exemption approval must offer at least half of the grains as whole grain-rich.  Please refer to the Extension Notice Memo for guidance on the exemption process.

Sodium: Sodium Target 1 will continue as the regulatory limit in the NSLP and SBP.

SED will continue to provide routine updates, training and on-going guidance to assist SFAs to have a full understanding of all available flexibilities in the nutrition requirements for school meals for the 2018-2019 school year.

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.