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  • Writer's pictureSamantha Marshall

New USDA FNS proposed rule impacts CACFP in a few ways and USDA Webinar Recording

Updated: Mar 7, 2023

Updated: 3/7/23 with link to recording of webinar

Earlier this month USDA FNS published a proposed rule generally focused on "school nutrition standards." The proposed rule is called Child Nutrition Programs: Revisions to Meal Patterns Consistent with the 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. As we all digest this information, it is important to remember that 1) these changes are not in effect, 2) USDA is required to read/consider EVERY SINGLE comment they receive - your voice matters, and 3) we're here to help make sense of all of it, just because there might be a change doesn't necessarily mean it is bad.

Step one, you may want to watch the recording of this webinar that USDA held which explained what the proposed standards mean for you. Step two, work with the Roundtable to inform the comments we'll create in response.

Things for you to know:

  1. Why is USDA FNS making changes to CACFP? The changes to CACFP are intended to align the standards of the two programs.

  2. What is a proposed rule and what does this mean? When USDA FNS wants to change regulations (the regs you find in CFR 226) they have to go through a rule-making process. This process includes a prerule stage, a proposed rule stage, and the final rule stage. We are in the Proposed Rule Stage. Learn more about the regulatory process here!

  3. What parts of the CACFP program do these proposed rules impact? There are a few specific sections that mention CACFP. They are listed here with the links to the section of the regulation in the Federal Register.

    1. Section 2: Added Sugars. The proposed standard begins here. The part of CACFP begins here. Basically, USDA FNS is proposing that when determining whether a cereal or yogurt product is creditable will be dependent upon the number of added sugars in place of determining that with total sugars.

    2. Section 3: Milk. There is also a section on flavored milk with two alternatives. This could impact programs serving older, school-age children if they are serving flavored milk.

    3. Section 4: Whole Grains. This clarifies the definition of Whole-Grains. The proposed standard can be found here.

    4. Section 6: Menu Planning Options for American Indian and Alaska Native Students. The proposal here is to allow vegetables to be creditable grains in order to enable accommodations for cultural food preferences. The proposed standard can be found here.

    5. Section 8: Afterschool Snacks. The proposal here is to align National School Lunch Program afterschool snacks with the CACFP snack requirements.

    6. Section 10: Nuts and Seeds. This proposal in this section would allow nuts and seeds to credit for the full meat/meat alternate. There is also a proposal to change the name of meat/meat alternates to "protein sources."

    7. Section 14: Geographic Preference. This proposed standard is meant to increase the procurement of local foods by expanding geographic preference options.

The CACFP Roundtable is working on further informational resources for the community as well as guidance for commenting on the USDA FNS proposed rule with our national partners.

Comments directly to USDA FNS close on April 10th.


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The CACFP Roundtable is committed to fostering a community of leaders who work together to build equitable access to the Child and Adult Care Food Program and nutritious meals in care settings. Your support goes toward programs and advocacy that help us get closer to ensuring everyone has the right to nutritious meals and making the CACFP an even better Food Program for all.

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