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The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has issued a transition policy (PDF document) for the first year of the updated Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) meal patterns requirements and related preschool meal pattern requirements for school meal programs.
Designed to support the success of the new, healthier meal patterns, the policy emphasizes the importance of technical assistance and training, while removing the threat of meals being disallowed and programs terminated.
As outlined in the memo, the one-year transition period “will allow CACFP institutions and facilities, and school food authorities to adjust to the updated requirements in the first year of implementation without having fiscal actions imposed or being found seriously deficient.”
USDA directs state agencies and sponsoring organizations to provide ample training and focused technical assistance to bring program operators into compliance with the new requirements. USDA fully expects that all participating providers and programs will be working to implement the new meal patterns; however, if “operators are making a good faith effort to comply with the updated requirements, then meals cannot be disallowed and CNP [program] operators cannot be found seriously deficient” for not meeting the new requirements.
USDA plans to continue to provide state agencies and sponsoring organizations with the training, technical assistance, and resources necessary to ensure the successful implementation of the updated meal pattern requirements. In addition, USDA emphasizes that “to the extent practicable, state agencies should not impose additional paperwork requirements to ensure compliance with the updated CACFP meal patterns.”
USDA has consistently demonstrated a deep commitment to being responsive to the input of key stakeholders, including CACFP, child care, and advocacy communities regarding implementation. In this memo, USDA strongly encourages continued feedback.
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