USDA Updates

April 2016

New Meal Patterns Released-Implementation scheduled for October 2017
The new meal patterns have been released by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) with an implementation date of October 1, 2017. That’s almost a year and a half to fully understand and prepare for the changes! Child care providers will be pleased to know that there are no major or costly changes that will result by using the new meal pattern. SENDCAA Food Program will keep providers informed as more guidance is made available in the next year from USDA, so that all providers will be ready for the new meal patterns by the 2017 date.

View the new meal pattern summaries by clicking on the links below:


April 2015

Obligation to Offer and Reimbursement of Infant Meals
Day care homes participating in CACFP must offer program meals to all eligible children enrolled in their day care home. As long as an infant is in care during the meal service period, day care homes must offer the infant a meal that complies with program requirements. Decisions on offering infant meals must be based on whether the child is enrolled in care, not if the child is enrolled in the CACFP.

Breastmilk storage
The Academy of Breatfeeding Medicine recommends a storage time of 72 hours for refrigerated milk. Bottles of fresh breastmilk must be stored in a refrigerator kept at 39°F or below. Centers and day care homes should continue to follow all other breastmilk handling and storage guidelines listed in Feeding Infants: A Guide for Child Nutrition Programs.

DHA Enriched Infant Foods
Docosahexaenoic acid, known as DHA, is an omega-3 fatty acid that may be added to infant formulas and infant foods. While the science is mixed on the benefits of DHA, some studies suggest they may have positive effects on visual function and neural development. 

Previously, any infant foods containing DHA was prohibited due to the concern that it may result in a food sensitivity or food allergy. However, DHA itself cannot cause allergic reactions and, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, there is no current convincing evidence to delay the introduction of foods considered to be highly allergic, including eggs. Child care centers and day care home providers now may serve infant foods containing DHA, as long as they meet all other crediting requirements.

January 2015

The USDA has published the proposed meal patterns for the Child and Adult Care Food Program Community. You can read them at the CACFP's Nutrition News Feed.

Meal Pattern Revision Summaries:

January 2012

Snack items no longer creditable:
Any puffed corn products, such as Funyuns and Cheetos, do not qualify as a creditable grain/bread snack item regardless of potentially creditable ingredients within that product such as whole grains or enriched. 

Meat items no longer creditable:
Dry or semi-dry meat snacks and shelf-stable,dried snacks made from meat, poultry or seafood.

October 2011

Fat Free and Low-Fat Milk
Fluid milk served to children participating on the CACFP two years of age and older must be served:  fat-free (skim) or low-fat milk (1%), fat-free or low-fat lactose reduced milk, fat-free or low-fat lactose free milk, fat-free or low-fat buttermilk, or fat-free or low-fat acidified milk.  Milk served must be pasteurized fluid milk that meets state and local standards, and may be flavored or unflavored.  Whole milk and reduced fat (2%) milk may not be served to children over two years of age.

Children under age two can be served whole milk or 2%.