Arkansas Department of Education Food Consumption Outside of the Foodservice Area

Memo Information

Memo Number
Memo Date
Memo Type
Fiscal & Administrative Services
Regulatory Authority
§USDA Policy Memo SP-41-2014
Response Required
Elementary Principals; Middle School Principals; High School Principals; Superintendents; Child Nutrition Directors

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Memo Text

Meals offered in the National School Lunch (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP) are intended to be consumed at school in a designated foodservice area during the established meal service period.  The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recognizes that with limited lunch time period and an increased amount of fruits and vegetables offered as part of the reimbursable meal, some students may be inclined to save some items for consumption at a later time.  There is no federal prohibition of this practice.  USDA encourages this practice as a way to promote the consumption of fruits and vegetables and reduce food wasted. However, for food safety reasons, this practice should be limited to only food items which do not require cooling or heating, such as whole fresh fruit or baggies of baby carrots or celery sticks.  Schools may also set up a sharing table for appropriate items to minimize food waste.  ADE Commissioner’s Memo FIN-08-076 entitled Milk Re-Service is still applicable. Districts’ should develop a policy on sharing food and/or saving food for later consumption.  Be sure to consult with your district’s Sanitarian from the Arkansas Department of Health to ensure that the district’s proposed policy on sharing food or saving food for later consumption meet all applicable food safety standards. The USDA Policy memo does not allow school meals to be given to students to take home. Schools are encouraged to allow reasonable seated time for students consume meals during the established meal service period.  Consult with your area specialist for seated meal time recommendations.


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