Accommodating Children with Special Dietary Needs in the School Nutrition Programs
USDA regulations at 7 CFR 15b require substitutions or modifications in school meals for children whose disabilities restrict their diets. A child with a disability must be provided substitutions in foods when that need is supported by a statement signed by a LICENSED PHYSICIAN. The physician’s statement must identify:
- The child’s disability;
- An explanation of why the disability restricts the child’s diet;
- The major life activity affected by the disability;
- The food or foods to be omitted from the child’s diet, and the food or choice of foods that must be substituted.
Children without disabilities, but with special dietary needs requiring food substitutions or modifications, must also submit documentation by a recognized medial authority.
The physician’s statement must be submitted to the school office and will be kept with the child’s records. A listing of those children with special dietary needs will be posted in the school kitchen, accessible to staff only.
School kitchens are not able to make modifications to meals based on food choices of a family or child without a physician’s statement.