SDE: Special Diets in School Nutrition Programs Connecticut State Department of Education SDE: Special Diets in School Nutrition Programs

Special Diets in School Nutrition Programs

School Nutrition Programs   Program Guidance  |  Forms  |  Resources  |  Nutrition Education

{children eating lunch}

The Connecticut State Department of Education's (CSDE) Accommodating Special Diets in School Nutrition Programs provides information and guidance for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) school nutrition programs on providing meals for children with special dietary needs, based on federal laws and USDA regulations. School nutrition programs include the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), School Breakfast Program (SBP), Afterschool Snack Program (ASP) of the NSLP, Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program (FFVP), Special Milk Program (SMP), and Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) At-risk Supper Program implemented in schools.

The USDA requires reasonable meal modifications on a case-by-case basis for children whose disability restricts their diet, based on a medical statement signed by a recognized medical authority. The Connecticut State Department of Public Health defines a recognized medical authority as licensed physicians (doctors of medicine or osteopathy), physician assistants, and advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), including nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, and certified nurse anesthetists who are licensed as APRNs.

The USDA allows, but does not require, meal modifications for children whose special dietary needs do not constitute a disability, including those related to religious or moral convictions, general health concerns, and personal food preferences, such as a preference that a child eats a gluten-free diet because a parent believes it is better for the child. Schools may choose to make these accommodations on a case-by-case basis. All meal modifications for children without disabilities must comply with the USDA meal patterns.

The CSDE encourages school nutrition programs to develop a written policy and standard operating procedures (SOPs) for meal modifications in school nutrition programs. For more information, review the CSDE's Policies on Special Diets webpage.

CSDE Guidance Medical Statement
Federal and State Laws Operational Memos Guidance

For more resources, review the Special Diets resource list on the CSDE's Resources for Child Nutrition Programs webpage.

CONTACT:  CSDE School Nutrition Programs Staff
Connecticut State Department of Education
Bureau of Health, Nutrition, Family Services and Adult Education
Child Nutrition Programs
450 Columbus Boulevard, Suite 504
Hartford, CT 06103-1841
Phone: 860-807-2050
Fax: 860-807-2127

Nondiscrimination Statements (USDA and CSDE)

Content Last Modified on 8/4/2017 2:13:06 PM