Transitional Meal Standards SY 2022–23 and 2023–24 – School Nutrition (CA Dept of Education) –

Purpose: Policy, Beneficial Information
To: School Nutrition Program Sponsors
Attention: Program Operators
Number: SNP-03-2022
Date: June 2022
Reference: U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Transitional Standards for Milk, Whole Grains, and Sodium Final Rule web page at, USDA Memorandum SP 04-2022, CACFP 04-2022: Question and Answer Guidance on the Final Rule Child Nutrition Programs: Transitional Standards for Milk, Whole Grains, and Sodium Effective July 1, 2022 PDF located at
Supersedes: Management Bulletin SNP-13-2018 School Meal Flexibilities for School Year 2018–19
Subject: Transitional Meal Standards for School Years 2022–23 and 2023–24

This management bulletin provides information and policy regarding transitional nutrition standards for school meal programs effective July 1, 2022.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a final rule establishing transitional standards for milk, whole grains, and sodium for School Years 2022–23 and 2023–24, and supports the intent of federal meal programs to ensure students have access to nutritious school meals.
Please reference the California Department of Social Service (CDSS) Management Bulletin (MB) web page at or email the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) with questions regarding the impact this Final Rule may have on the CACFP meal pattern guidance.
In 2012, the USDA implemented new meal standards set forth by the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. The updated school meal requirements included increased fruits, vegetables, and whole grains; adjusted requirements for milk; reduced sodium; and set calorie standards. The standards were intended to be implemented gradually, over multiple years, giving school staff and students time to adjust to the changes. Although most schools in California implemented the updated nutrition standards very successfully, legislative and administrative actions delayed full implementation of the requirements for milk, whole grains, and sodium. In addition, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic caused disruptions to the school meal programs. As a result, the USDA is taking a multi-step approach to update the school meal nutrition standards for the coming school years.
This rule establishes the following meal component standards for milk, whole grains, and sodium served as a part of a reimbursable meal in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP) or through the Special Milk Program (SMP):
Note that California is stricter than the Final Rule for milk in the following two ways:
Please note: The sodium limit applies to the average meal offered during the school week. It does not apply daily or per-meal.
For a chart detailing sodium requirements and implementation dates go to the USDA School Lunch and Breakfast Sodium Limits and Timeline web page at
The USDA plans to develop long-term nutrition standards to reflect the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans and to build on the progress made over the past decade. They intend to seek extensive stakeholder engagement throughout the process from schools, industry, families, and other partners to develop new meal standards. Their goal is to publish a proposed rule on the updated standards in fall 2022, and implement a permanent final rule by School Year 2024–25.
You can access the meal requirements on the USDA’s Transitional Standards for Milk, Whole Grains, and Sodium Final Rule web page at
To learn more about the USDA’s plans for updating the school meal nutrition standards, visit the Building Back Better with School Meals web page at
Refer to the Policy Memorandum SP 05-2022 web page at for updated questions and answers for meal requirements in the NSLP and SBP. You can view this policy memo on the USDA School Meals Policy web page at
If you comingle NSLP and SBP meal services with children in licensed day care centers, keep in mind the provisions of California’s Healthy Beverages in Child Care Act PDF located at when reviewing USDA Guidance.
If you have any questions regarding this subject, please contact your county’s School Nutrition Programs (SNP) Specialist. A list of SNP Specialists is available in the Download Forms section of the Child Nutrition Information and Payment System, Form ID Caseload.
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