Nutrition Program Bulletin - Week of May 18, 2020

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Nutrition Program Bulletin – Week of May 18, 2020

Each section contains updates relevant to those nutrition programs. You can jump to the section you're interested in by clicking the link.

Food Distributition Program

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Foods Commodity Credit Requirements and COVID-19 Emergency

The USDA released guidance on the commodity credit requirements of food service management companies (FSMC) during the COVID-19 emergency. At this time, FSMCs in both fixed-price and cost-reimbursable contracts will continue to follow 7 CFR 250.51 and credit the value of all donated foods received.

In some cases, the FSMCs may be able to use the USDA Foods received during school shutdowns for other child nutrition programs operated by the School Food Authority (SFA) during school closures. The FSMC and SFA should refer to the terms of the contract between the FSMC and SFA.

SFAs and FSMCs that agree to donate USDA Foods must ensure adequate documentation is kept to detail the quantity, value and where the food was donated. Donation of USDA Foods must follow 7 CFR 250.14.


Trade Mitigation Trucks of Applesauce Canceled

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Fruit Product Company is not able to fulfill demand, resulting in the cancellation of trucks with item 110361 (applesauce cups). These trucks were originally due to arrive in February 2020, were delayed, and are now canceled. 


USDA Foods Reconciliation and Unclaimed Products at Americold Warehouse

Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) will begin to reconcile and clear items received at Americold (formerly Newport Cold Storage); distributor reconciliation reports will be sent this week. Please compare these to your completed purchase orders. With school closures, there has been a significant amount of unclaimed product stored at Americold. Sponsors need to arrange for food products sitting at Americold to be delivered. Food left unclaimed will be donated.  

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School Nutrition Programs

2020-21 Renewal Applications 

The following renewal applications are set to open on Monday, June 1, 2020. 

  • School Nutrition Program (SNP) 
  • Federal Special Milk Program (SMP) 
  • Minnesota Kindergarten Milk Program (MKMP) 

Guidance is being updated and will be released prior to June 1, 2020. The guidance will be sent through a future bulletin and will be posted on the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) – Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) website. 


2020-21 Application for Educational Benefits Packet 

The 2020-21 Application for Educational Benefits packet for households to apply for free and reduced-price meals for school year (SY) 2020-21 is now available on the MDE website. School food authorities (SFA) must provide application packets to all households prior to the start of SY 2020-21. The earliest date that application packets can be distributed is July 1, 2020. 

SFAs that participate in the Community Eligibility Program (CEP) or Provision 2 for both breakfast and lunch will need to distribute the alternate application for the school to receive compensatory revenue. Refer to the School Finance/MARSS Student Accounting page of the MDE website for further instructions about distributing alternate applications. 

The 2020-21 Application for Educational Benefits packet includes: 

  • A letter to households explaining free or reduced-price school meals benefits. 
  • Instructions on how to complete the Application for Educational Benefits, which includes the updated household income guidelines. This page may be printed on the backside of the household letter. 

The format of the Application for Educational Benefits has been slightly revised based on program operators' input. 

  • The school return address section was moved to the top of the form, with a footnote to indicate where households should return the application. 
  • The Step 2 case number field was marked to indicate the maximum number of digits to better assist households in recognizing the characteristics of a case number. 
  • For households that report income, the social security indicator section was made more prominent in Step 3A. 
  • Clarifications were added to better define the child and adult income sections. 
  • The approval/denial section was enhanced to include a verification results at a glance section. 
  • SFAs that already have student racial/ethnic information on file may remove the civil rights section from the second page of the form. 

Other Documents to Include: 

The application packet may include other documents that SFAs are required to distribute at the beginning of the school year, including: 

In processing applications, refer to the Procedures for approval/denial of Applications for Educational Benefits and 2020-21 Household Income Guidelines for school staff use only. Additionally, the USDA Eligibility Manual for School Meals serves as the most comprehensive resource on processing student meal applications. 


School Nutrition COVID-19 Webinar

Weekly webinars will be held on Tuesdays at 2 p.m. to update school nutrition program staff on issues related to COVID-19. Select the link below to register for the May 26 webinar. 

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