Arkansas Department of Education Division of Elementary and Secondary Education School Year 2020-2021 Meal Pattern Changes

Memo Information

Memo Number
Memo Date
Memo Type
Child Nutrition
Regulatory Authority
7CFR210.10(c) and 220.8(c)
Response Required
Superintendents; Child Nutrition Directors/Managers

Primary Contact Information

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No references available.

Memo Text


The purpose of this memo is to provide School Food Authorities (SFAs) with guidance regarding meal pattern flexibilities that were previously approved in the 2018 Final Rule, Child Nutrition Programs: Flexibilities for Milk, Whole Grains, and Sodium Requirements, (83 FR 63775, December 12, 2018).  The United States District Court for the State of Maryland found a procedural error in the way the final rules were announced or released to the public.  Therefore, the decision has been made to reverse the flexibilities set forth in the 2018 Final Rule.  As a result of reversing the 2018 Final Rules, SFAs will be required to return to the 2012 Final Rule, Nutrition Standards in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs, (77 FR 4088, January 26, 2012). 

For School Year 2020-2021 this means:

  • Flavored milk must be fat free or non-fat
  • All grain products must be whole grain rich (50% of the grains in the product must be whole grains.
  • The Target 2 weekly sodium limit from the 2012 Final Rule must be implemented is as follows:
    • Breakfast (K-5) ≤ 485 mg; (6-8) ≤ 535 mg; (9-12) ≤ 570 mg
    • Lunch (K-5) ≤ 935 mg; (6-8) ≤ 1035 mg; (9-12) ≤1080 mg

Due to the timing of the court’s decision in April 2020, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) is allowing districts to continue their current meal patterns and use of the nationwide meal pattern waivers for COVID 19 if the 2012 meal pattern requirements are not met.  However, all states must implement the changes and meet the meal patterns as described in the January 26, 2012 final rule no later than July 1, 2021.

Complete the attached Request for Waiver form to reflect the needs of the SFA and return it to the Child Nutrition Unit via by September 23, 2020

If you have questions regarding these changes to the final rule, please contact your area specialist by email or at 501-324-9502.

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