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MdSNA is a non-profit organization comprised of School Food Service Professionals in the state of Maryland. We are affiliated with the National School Nutrition Association which connects us to others across the nation with our same interest...

Child Nutrition Programs for all children.


September Policy Update from SNA

9.2.2016 Comment Request on Direct Certification Data Collection
The USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is soliciting comments on an upcoming data collection. The State Agency (NSLP/SNAP) Direct Certification Rate Data Element Report serves to collect direct certification data from SNAP State agencies and NSLP State agencies to define direct certification rates. The data collection is necessary to compute each State’s direct certification performance rate to compare against benchmarks. Comments are requested regarding whether the collection of information is necessary and accurate and ways to enhance the quality of information and minimize burdens. Comments are due by October 1, 2016 and can be submitted via email to or by fax to (202) 395-5806.

9.9.2016 Community Eligibility Provision: Guidance and Updated Q&As
This USDA memo discusses the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) and provides new guidance and Questions and Answers (Q&As) to address changes made by the CEP Final Rule. Additionally, this memorandum provides clarification on previously issued guidance related to CEP. The attached Q&As supersede the CEP.

9.16.2016 Additional Guidance for the Implementation of Administrative Reviews
This memorandum provides additional guidance to assist in implementing the Final Rule, Administrative Reviews in School Nutrition Programs, effective September 27, 2016. The guidance included is intended to assist with the completion of Administrative Reviews conducted after this effective date.

9.17.2016 Federal Register: Comment Request on Survey of Occurrence of Food Borne Illness
This proposed study will span 10 years beginning 2015-2016 (to be initiated October 1, 2016 with target completion date of December 31, 2016). Additional data collections are planned for 2019–2020 and 2023–2024. The purpose of the study is to assist FDA with developing retail food safety initiatives and policies focused on the control of foodborne illness risk factors, identify priorities and allocate resources. Comments on this proposed study can be submitted through and are due by November 18, 2016.

9.18.2016 2016 Edition: Overcoming the Unpaid Meal Challenge: Proven Strategies from Our Nation’s Schools
In follow up to the requirement that all SFA’s properly communicate a complete meal charge plan by July 1, 2017, the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) announced the release of the first edition of Overcoming the Unpaid Meal Challenge: Proven Strategies from Our Nation’s Schools. This guide summarizes the best practices and strategies from State and local program operators with direct experience managing unpaid meal charges. It is designed to support program operators in their efforts to find workable solutions to this challenge and ensure children continue to have access to the healthy school meals.

Additional information, policy guidance, and best practice resources may be found on the Unpaid Meal Charges page.

9.26.2016 CACFP Reimbursement Application and Record Keeping
The USDA is accepting comments on established CACFP record keeping and reimbursement application requirements. Comments on whether the information collection is necessary, accurate, or burdensome can be submitted through and are due by October 26, 2016.

9.28.2016 Federal Register: FDA Request for Comments on Use of the term “Healthy”
The Food and Drug Administration is soliciting comments on the use of the term “healthy” in the labeling of food products. The public are asked to comment on the term “healthy” as a nutrient claim and on specific comments contained in this document. Guidelines for submitting your comment to FDA are provided within the notice and comments are due by January 26, 2017.

9.28.2016 Federal Register: FDA Guidance for Industry on Use of the term “Healthy”
The Food and Drug Administration is accepting comments on a guidance issued to industry regarding the use of the term “healthy” on food products. The guidance advises food manufacturers of the FDA’s intent to exercise enforcement discretion with respect to the implied nutrient content claim “healthy” on foods that have a fat profile that does not meet the regulatory definition of low fat or contain 10 percent of the Daily Value of potassium or vitamin D. Comments on the guidance may be submitted through

9.28.2016 Federal Register: Regulatory Implementation of Uniform Administrative Requirements
This Final rule amends FNS regulations to implement the Department of Agriculture final guidance of USDA-specific requirements in the Federal Agency Regulations for Grants and Agreements. Currently, references appear throughout the FNS regulations to the OMB guidance consolidated under the “Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards” and the USDA implementing regulations in Title 2, of the CFR. There are over 100 references throughout 19 Parts of the FNS regulations that must be revised to accurately reference the revised OMB and USDA regulations.


USDA Regulations

There is alot of information on the SNA website concerning USDA regulations and request for input. Be sure to respond to the issues that affect your program. Click here.


Policy Update from SNA

8.5.2016 Year-long Eligibility in School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs
This USDA memo encourages local education agencies (LEAs) to accept eligibility determinations from transferring students in order to prevent disruptions in their meal benefits. School changes can be disruptive but ensuring that students to do not have a break in their access to free and reduced price meals can help ensure students make a successful transition.

8.5.2016 Encouraging Early Implementation of “Carryover” Eligibility for Free School Meals
USDA is encouraging early implementation of the regulatory provision authorizing State agencies to allow a 30-day “carryover” eligibility period of 30 days for students transitioning from Provision schools participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and the School Breakfast Program (SBP). Meals served to students during the carryover period are claimed at the “free” rate.

8.8.2016 Crediting Tofu and Soy Yogurt
USDA Food and Nutrition Services clarifies how to credit tofu and soy yogurt products as a meat/meat alternate component in meal planning. In the School Meal Programs and Child and Adult Care Food Program, 2.2 ounces (1/4 cup) of commercially prepared tofu, containing at least 5 grams of protein, is creditable as 1.0-ounce equivalent meat alternate. 4.0 fluid ounces (1/2 cup) of soy yogurt is creditable as 1.0-ounce equivalent meat alternate. More details on ensuring credit towards the meat alternate component are available in the memo.

Federal Register: 8.9.2016 Value of Donated Foods SY2016-17
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service has announced the national average value of donated foods from July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017 for each lunch served by schools participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and for each lunch and supper served by institutions participating in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). The national average minimum value of donated foods, or cash in lieu thereof, per lunch under the NSLP and per lunch and supper under the CACFP is 23 cents. This is a decrease of three quarters of a cent from SY2015-16. This decrease reflects changes in the average value of the Producer Price Index for Foods Used in Schools and Institutions for March, April and May.

8.10.2016 Ensuring Access to Meals for Low-Income Students
This memo highlights ways to ensure that children who are not currently directly certified but are eligible for free or reduced price meals are successfully given access. Also addressed, are ways to reduce the number of eligible children who lose access to meals during the verification process.

Federal Register: 8.10.2016 School Nutrition Error Rate Study
The purpose of this third study on Access, Participation, Eligibility, and Certification (APEC III) is to provide the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) with key information on the annual error rates and erroneous payments for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP) in school year (SY) 2017-18. In addition, APEC III will identify School Food Authority (SFA), school, and student/household characteristics that may be related to error rates, and identify strategies and actionable guidance for reducing errors.

Federal Register: 8.11.2016 CACFP Error Rate Study
USDA is conducting an Erroneous payments in Child Care Centers Study (EPICCS) in order to comply with reporting requirements concerning improper payments. The data collected will be used to produce national estimates of improper or erroneous payments in the child care center component of the CACFP. USDA will develop models for calculating annual, national estimates for errors and methods for generating State-level estimates in a White Paper. The data will also be used to inform policy-making and regulatory processes for maintenance and improvements in program integrity.

Federal Register: 8.25.2016 CACFP National Disqualified List
The Department of Agriculture is required to maintain a list of institutions, day care home providers, and individuals that have been terminated or otherwise disqualified from the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). The law also requires the Department to make the list available to State agencies. By maintaining this list, the Department ensures program integrity. Comments are requested regarding whether the collection of information is necessary and accurate, and ways in which to make it more efficient.

Questions about SNA’s Policy Update can be sent to SNA’s Government Relations Associate, Nadia Davis, at


Reimbursement Rates for SY 2016-17

The federal government has announced reimbursement rates for the 2016-17 school year.

CBPP Report says Block Grants put Children's Nutrition at Risk

A report issued on July 8, 2016, by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) says block grants would put children's nutrition at risk.

SNA Rallies Against Block Grants

Block Grants PowerPoint presentation from SNA

The School Nutrition Association is taking a stand against a House GOP child nutrition bill that would open the door to block-granting federal school meals programs. The group, representing some 55,000 school nutrition professionals across the country, on June 15 held a public event on Capititsol t aimed at drumming up opposition to the bill - marking a new round in a long-running fight. For years, SNA worked with House Republicans to push back on some of the Obama administration's new nutrition standards, but that alliance was severed when the House Education and the Workforce Committee last month introduced legislation that would create a three-state block-grant pilot for school meals programs - a move SNA and hunger and health groups see as an existential threat.
Read coverage from The Hill

Read coverage from the Miami Herald

SNA's president and CEO has written a letter to update members about SNA's efforts to defeat the School Meals block grants proposal. Read the letter.

SNA also has sent a letter, endorsed by all 50 states, to the House Education and The Workforce Committee advocating against Block Grant. Read the letter.

SNA Block Grants PowerPoint Presentation Available Now
The Government Affairs staff at SNA headquarters has prepared a template presentation for state leaders to discuss the importance of the #StoptheBlock efforts with your members. The presentation includes an overview of what Block Grants are, the negative impact they would have on school nutrition programs, and action steps members can take to get involved.  Talking points are included.

Make Your Voice Heard - Stop Block Grants
MdSNA members are encouraged to contact their representatives immediately and ask them to say NO to School Lunch Block grants as proposed in H.R. 5003. Go to SNA's Take Action Web page, click on “Take Action”  and fill in your home address. A letter template will show up, please add your name & hit send. It’s that easy! Learn more about HR 5003.

Block Grant Amendment to HR 5003 (see pages 100-113)

Are You Reading SNA's 'Tuesday Morning'?

Tuesday Morning provides SNA members with up-to-date federal legislative news, as well as a sampling of child nutrition program media coverage. Additionally, current state and federal legislative activity can be accessed through each issue. Sign up for Tuesday Morning and SNA will deliver an update on federal and state policy issues to your e-mail inbox every Tuesday. Or visit the Tuesday Morning page of SNA's website. Not an SNA member? Visit SNA's membership page to join or contact the Maryland School Nutrition Association for more information about membership.

Get Social with MdSNA

Please follow us @MdSNAmedia on both Twitter and Instagram. Our page on Facebook is now live, too!


News Flash!

House Officially Introduces Reauthorization Bill - learn more





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