CACFP Community Question: Seasonal Fruit on Menus Compliance
We are revamping our menu here for more kid friendly items. One of the things that I have noticed in the short time I have been in my current role is the amount of fruit we send out and the amount that comes back and gets thrown away. I think the kids are reaching a fatigue point with the same three components (apples, bananas and oranges) and we wanted to integrate fresh fruit salads (melons, watermelon, orange, pineapple) and here is my question. On our CACFP daily menus we post in the public area for the parents to see, if we listed the fruit selection as SEASONAL FRUIT, would we still be within compliance? We still plan on serving the three fruits, but since the kids love the cut fresh fruit salad, I may want to integrate that twice or three times per week to reduce the amount of waste and engage the kids more.
CDSS CACFP Branch Answer:
The CDSS requires that Child Care Centers must post a dated, daily menu with serving sizes per age group for every meal and snack claimed (DCH providers, ARA programs, and ESs are exempt). A menu with serving sizes is typically a menu used by kitchen/food service staff that communicates what foods and how much of each food to serve for each age group. The menu with serving sizes is also typically different than the menus referenced in licensing regulations that are not CACFP requirements.
Menus must be dated and include the name of each food item (e.g., strawberries, oranges), not just the name of the component (e.g., fruit), served each day. Therefore, writing “Seasonal Fruit” on the menu would not meet the CDSS CACFP requirements. However, you could write “Fruit salad (cantaloupe, pineapple, strawberries)” on the menu so that the kitchen/food service staff know which fruits will be offered on that day for the fruit salad. Another option would be to indicate “Fruit salad” for that day of the menu with an asterisk to direct people to a legend, where they could see the fruit offered in the fruit salad for that day.
A great resource is the newly created CDSS Developing a Menu with Serving Sizes web page.