7/31/2019 - The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service recently announced a proposed rule to delay the implementation of grain ounce equivalents in the Child and Adult Care Food Program. The Academy submitted comments to the agency earlier this week in support of a delay to the implementation of the use of grain ounce equivalents in the Child and Adult Care Food Program to allow more time for FNS to develop additional technical assistance materials and for state agencies and sponsoring organizations to provide training and technical assistance to make compliance easier for meal planners nationwide.
The Academy suggests that during the delayed implementation, USDA could review the requirement to analyze the impact of requiring all CACFP program operators to switch to using ounce equivalents and determine if the added complexity improves child nutrition. Given that this rule was intended to align CACFP with the National School Lunch and Breakfast program, if changing to the ounce equivalents does not improve nutrition, USDA should consider allowing school-based programs seeking consistency with the school meal rules the option to use ounce equivalents in CACFP rather than mandate it for all CACFP providers. Keeping the program manageable to administer while upholding high nutrition standards should be a priority.