Federal regulations require Sponsoring Organizations (school districts, child care centers, nonprofit or for-profit programs) operating Child Nutrition Programs to make reasonable modifications to the standard meal requirements to accommodate participants with disabilities. This may include providing food substitutions, exclusions, texture modifications, or meal service accommodations at no extra charge.
Medical meal accommodations and modifications are only required to be accommodated by a Sponsoring Organization when requests are supported by a completed Medical Statement that is signed by a State Licensed Health Care Professional. A written note with the following information can be used in lieu of a Medical Statement:
1. The participant’s major life activity or major bodily function affected by the physical or mental impairment restricting the diet
2. An explanation of what needs to be done to accommodate the disability
3. The food(s) to be omitted from the participant’s diet or other dietary accommodations to be made
4. The food(s) to be substituted when items are omitted from the diet
Non-Medical Meal Accommodations: Sponsors and Providers may accommodate meal modifications for non-medical reasons based on their program policy. All accommodations must be consistent with all Child Nutrition Programs Civil Rights requirements. Non-medical meal accommodations may include cultural, religious, lifestyle, or personal preferences.
The Meal Preference Request Form can be used to document non-medical meal accommodation requests based on individual Sponsor or Provider policy. Requests for Nutritionally Equivalent Milk Substitutes must use this form.
• Nutritionally Equivalent Milk Substitutes are defined as non-dairy substitutes with nutritional equivalency to fluid milk as outlined in the National School Lunch Program regulations at 7 CFR 210.10(d)(3). Serving a Nutritionally Equivalent Milk Substitute will meet meal pattern requirements if a completed Meal Preference Request Form is on file.
Meal Accommodation Decision Tree: This handout provides a visual guide on whether meal accommodation requests can be accommodated and the forms that will be needed.
Requesting Meal Accommodations: A handout for Section 504/ADA Coordinators and families seeking information on requesting meal accommodations or modifications in the Child Nutrition Programs.
For more information, please visit the ODE website.
For more information, please contact Jordan Haas, firstname.lastname@example.org