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School Breakfast Program

Verification for Cause in the Child Nutrition Programs

Recently, concerns have been raised about school employees allegedly misrepresenting their incomes on applications to receive free or reduced price school meals for their children.  As a result, USDA has been asked if a local education agency (LEA) may use the salary information of their own employees, maintained for business purposes, as a tool to implement verification for cause and help ensure the integrity of free and reduced price certifications.  This memorandum clarifies the use of verification for cause by LEAs in this manner..

Preventing Overt Identification of Children Certified for Free or Reduced Price School Meals

This memorandum serves as guidance on the requirements for preventing overt identification of children certified for free or reduced price school meals, and provides suggestions about methods school food authorities (SFAs) could use to avoid overt identification as much as possible.

Defining Overt Identification

Food Access for homeless and Highly Mobile Students

Many of you often ask questions regarding the direct certification process for homeless, runaway and migrant children and youth as defined by the McKinney-Vento Act. I have enclosed a summary which explains the law and the responsibilities of public schools to accommodate these students with access to free meals if the school participates in the federal Child Nutrition Programs.

We strongly recommend you contact your homeless liaison so you can partner with them to provide eligible homeless children with free meals as quickly as possible.

Urgent-Additional Change in State Reimbursement for School Meals

The appropriation provided in the 2008-2009 New York State Budget for the 2008-09 school year for the school lunch and breakfast programs resulted in a two percent cut to State reimbursement. The budget language specifically states that such reimbursement shall be limited to 98 percent of the State reimbursement rates that were applicable in the 2007-08 school year. All prior year claims received for payment in the 2008-09 fiscal year were not subject to the 2% cut.

Reporting Eligible Students for Claiming Purposes-October Only and Other Months

When filing claims for reimbursement, the person responsible for completing the report should use the highest number of free and reduced price eligible students approved during the month for every month except October. This is true whether you are completing claims on-line or paper. The reason you must report the highest number of students throughout the month is because the number of students eligible in the school/facility on the last day does not necessarily reflect the highest number of free and reduced price students served during the month.

Final Rule on HACCP Requirements issued

The U.S. Department of Agriculture published a final rule on Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) standards for the school nutrition programs in the December 15, 2009 issue of the Federal Register. The final rule implements the legislative provisions included in the 2004 Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act that require all school food authorities that participate in the National School Lunch Program or the School Breakfast Program to develop a food safety system that implements the HACCP system. Please see the link below for additional information.

SFA Responsibilities when Contracting with a Food Service Management Company

When contracting with a Food Service Management Company (FSMC), a school food authority (SFA) has several fiduciary responsibilities that must periodically take place during the term of the contract to ensure the fiscal integrity of its child nutrition programs, for example: administrative oversight, monitoring, reviewing invoices and record keeping.


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.