Food Services » Meal Modifications

Meal Modifications

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) nondiscrimination regulation (7 CFR 15b), as well as the regulations governing the Child Nutrition Programs, make it clear that substitutions to the regular meal must be made, at no extra cost, for children who are unable to eat meals served in any Child Nutrition Programs (CNP) because of their disabilities. USDA's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) has issued SP 59-2016: Policy Memorandum on Modifications to Accommodate Disabilities in the School Meal Programs and CACFP 14-2017, SFSP 10-2017 Modifications to Accommodate Disabilities in the Child and Adult Care, which clarify that Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) institutions and facilities and Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) sponsors (Program operators) and School Food Authorities (SFAs) are required to make reasonable modifications to accommodate children with disabilities. The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Office for Food and Nutrition Programs (FNP) will routinely review Program Operators/SFAs for documented compliance with these regulations during Administrative, Site, and Home Reviews.

The Definition of a Disability:
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Amendments Act of 2008 made important changes to the meaning and interpretation of the term "disability." The changes demonstrated Congress's intent to restore the broad scope of the ADA by making it easier for an individual to establish that he or she has a disability. After the passage of the ADA Amendments Act, most physical and mental impairments constitute a disability. Therefore, rather than focusing on whether or not a student has a disability, Program Operators/SFAs should focus on working collaboratively with parents to ensure an equal opportunity to participate in the school meal programs and receive program benefits.