Weekly School Nutrition Newsletter


Dear Food Service Contact,

This email provides news for schools concerning the Child Nutrition Programs from the USDA and the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE). If you are the food service contact for your school or corporation, it is your responsibility to relay important information provided to you about the Child Nutrition Programs to other staff members.

Food Distribution Program (FDP) Reminders

  • Please remember to recertify your inventory account under the green puzzle piece by updating the contact information and clicking box #29, which states, "Check here to certify the information on this form is correct" and click the submit button.
  • Seeing a message across your screen that says, “You do not currently have a NSLP information sheet for Program Year 2020 in a Pending Approval or Approved status?"
    • This means that your NSLP sponsor and site sheets (in the purple puzzle piece) are not in "pending approval" or you have not checked the box on #29. 
  • Delivery periods are being posted by the state contracted warehouses for Program Year (PY) 2020. Please be sure that orders are being placed in PY 2020.
    • If you placed an order in PY 2019, please delete the order and place it in PY 2020.
  • In an effort to reduce excess storage of USDA Foods inventory and maintain compliance with USDA’s six month rule at the state contracted warehouses, IDOE will no longer take back product, nor change or honor the close date, effective immediately.
  • Due to IDOE’s physical inventory counts and audits at the state contracted warehouses, as well as, outdated and close date product findings, some sponsors may see a reduction in some of of their USDA Foods inventory items.
  • IDOE has created a USDA Foods Checklist for Food Service Directors as a point of reference for reminders and important tasks. 
  • View the USDA Foods Distribution Handbook for other useful information and to help answer common questions regarding USDA Foods.
  • Questions? Contact Cheryl Moore at cmoore@doe.in.gov.

Important Reminder! 30 Operating Day Carryover

  • Eligibility benefits from the previous school year should carry over for the first 30 operating days into the new school year.
  • Reminder! If a household submits a new application or is matched through Direct Certification (DC) within the 30 day carryover, schools must immediately apply the new eligibility, even if the new eligibility is lower than the previous school year (i.e. free to reduced, free to paid, or reduced to paid).
  • The 30 day carryover applies to:
    • Children with approved applications or DC status from the previous school year.
    • Newly enrolled children who reside in a household where another child has an approved application or DC status from the previous year.
    • Children transferring from one Local Educational Agency (LEA) to another, as long as the new LEA can obtain documentation that states the student was receiving benefits the previous school year.
    • Children moving from LEAs that participated in a special Provision (i.e. Provision 1, 2, or 3 or CEP) to a non-provision school. Check out the Transferring Eligibility Fact Sheet for more information about this.
  • While not required, schools are highly recommended to contact any households that have not reapplied for free and reduced (f/r) benefits before the 30 day carryover ends.
    • This is a way to prevent a lapse in benefits or excess meal charging.
  • On the 31st operating day, households that have not reapplied for f/r benefits must be changed to paid status.
  • Click here for the 30 Day Carryover Fact Sheet.
  • Questions? Contact your Field Specialist.

Grains Tools now on the Mobile App

  • The Grains Tool from USDA is now available on the Food Buying Guide (FBG) Mobile App.
  • The tool allows users to search for a grain product (as listed on Exhibit A) and enter in the serving size as listed on the product label.
    • The tool then determines:  
      • the ounce equivalent (oz. eq) grains for the grain product
      • the amount of the grain product to serve to obtain a specific meal pattern contribution.
  • The FBG Mobile App is currently available on the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store. If you already have the app, make sure to check that you have the most current version on your mobile devices!
  • This tool is available on the interactive, online version of the FBG as well. Click here to access the online FBG.  

Successful Approaches to Reduce Sodium in School Meals Study 

  • USDA recently completed a study with representatives from the food industry and public school food authorities, which was designed to provide information on:
    • The market availability of foods that meet the sodium standards for school meal programs set by regulation in 2012,
    • The strategies most often used by schools that have met the sodium targets, and
    • The technical assistance needs of schools and districts working to develop lower sodium menus.
  • Click here to access the study.

Congratulations 2019 USDA Farm to School Grantees!

  • IDOE congratulates all of the 2019 Farm to School Grant recipients! 
  • USDA’s Farm to School Grants fund school districts, State and local agencies, Indian tribal organizations, agricultural producers, and non-profit organizations in their efforts to increase local foods served through child nutrition programs, teach children about food and agriculture through garden and classroom education, and develop schools’ and farmers’ capacities to participate in farm to school activities.
  • Indiana winners:
    • Lifeline Youth and Family Services, Inc., Fort Wayne, Indiana
    • Maconaquah School Corporation, Bunker Hill, Indiana
    • Parkview Hospital, Inc., Fort Wayne, Indiana
  • For the complete list of grant recipients and their grant plans, click here.  
  • FNS plans to release the Requests for Applications (RFA) for the PY 2020 Farm to School Grants Program in the fall.

The School Nutrition and Meal Cost Study 

  • USDA has released a new report regarding a study that was conducted on school nutrition programs and meal costs. 
  • This is the first comprehensive national survey of the school nutrition programs since program reforms were implemented in PY 2012 - 2013.
  • This survey is unique in that it:
    • Simultaneously examined the nutritional quality of school meals and the cost of producing meals;
    • Assessed students' acceptance of school meals in a quantitative way using data on the amount of food students waste; and 
    • Examined associations between major outcomes of interest, such as the association between the nutritional quality of school meals and student participation and the association between the cost and nutritional quality of school meals
  •  Click here for the summary of findings from the study.  

Miss a Weekly School Nutrition Newsletter? Click here to access previous newsletters!

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Please do not reply directly to this email. If you have any questions or concerns regarding this email, please contact Allie Caito-Sipe at acaito@doe.in.gov, call (317) 232-0849, or toll-free at 1-800-537-1142 ext. 20849, or contact Ashley Heller at aheller@doe.in.gov, call (317) 232-0544, or toll-free at 1-800-537-1142 ext. 20544.