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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
Child Nutrition Program Administration
Friday, March 22, 2024
Offer Versus Serve Waiver Now Available for Non-SFA Sponsors

The New York State Education Department (NYSED) has received State-level waiver authority from the United States Department of Agriculture for non-school food authority Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) sponsors to utilize Offer versus Serve (OVS) during the 2023 SFSP. OVS allows children to decline some of the foods offered in a reimbursable breakfast, lunch, or supper. 

Non-SFA SFSP Sponsors that wish to utilize this waiver must complete this request form and submit it to your NYSED SFSP representative for review and approval prior to implementing OVS at any sites.  

Only sponsors that are considered in good standing and can demonstrate administrative and operational capacity to effectively implement OVS will be approved. This waiver is not available for rural non-congregate meal services. 

Non-SFA sponsors must ensure that that the following meal service parameters are met:  


The following four food items must be offered:

  • One serving of fruit/vegetable,
  • One serving of bread/bread alternate, 
  • One serving of fluid milk, and 
  • One additional serving of fruit/vegetable, bread/bread alternate, or a serving of a meat/meat alternate.  

 All the food items offered must be different from each other. 

 A child must take at least three of any of the four food items offered and may choose to take all four items.  


Lunch or Supper:

The following four food components must be offered through at least five different food items: 

  • One serving of meat/meat alternate, 
  • Two servings of fruit and/or vegetables (two different food items), 
  •  One serving of bread/bread alternate, and
  • One serving of fluid milk.  

 All the food items offered must be different from each other.

A child must take at least three food components and may choose to take all five items.  

• Lunch or supper OVS requirements differ from breakfast in that a child must take at least three food components, rather than items, listed above from the five food items offered. Three food components are required for an adequate nutritious meal for children.  

• Offering two servings of the same food item is not permissible under OVS in SFSP. All food items offered must be different from each other. For example, a breakfast menu that includes a serving of milk, a serving of fruit, and two servings of toast is not a reimbursable meal under OVS in SFSP because the toast is two of the same food item. Similarly, if the breakfast menu included two different kinds of cereal rather than toast, it would still not be a reimbursable meal because the cereals, although not identical, are the same food item. Additionally, a larger food item that is worth two servings in weight, such as a two-ounce muffin, counts as only one food item under OVS in SFSP, not two.  

• Servings of all food items must adhere to the serving sizes in the SFSP meal patterns at 7 CFR 225.16(d).  

Contact with any questions. 

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.