CACFP Temporary Fluid Milk Exemption Requests
This web page provides question and answer guidance for Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) Operators on requesting approval from the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) to temporarily not provide CACFP meals with the fluid milk component due to emergency conditions.
What is a temporary fluid milk exemption?
A temporary fluid milk exemption granted by the CDSS CACFP Branch allows CACFP Operators to temporarily not provide CACFP meals with the fluid milk component during emergency conditions and still claim the meals for reimbursement. The regulations at Title 7, Code of Federal Regulations (7 CFR), Section 226.20(e)(1), provide State agencies with the authority to authorize meals to be served without the fluid milk component during emergency conditions.
CACFP Operators may request a temporary fluid milk exemption by submitting a CDSS CACFP Fluid Milk Exemption Application. CACFP Operators with an approved application may claim meals without the fluid milk component only when emergency conditions are present that prevent them from obtaining a creditable fluid milk product.
What constitutes an emergency?
The following may qualify as emergency conditions that temporarily prevent CACFP Operators from being able to serve meals with a creditable fluid milk product:
- Supply chain issues; for example, vendor closures, delivery delays and substitutions, and vendor shortages
- Temporary storage limitations; for example, a broken refrigerator unit
How do CACFP Operators request a temporary fluid milk exemption?
CACFP Operators may request a temporary fluid milk exemption to not serve meals with the fluid milk component by completing the CDSS CACFP Fluid Milk Exemption Application.
Upon online submission of the application, CACFP Operators will receive an email from the CDSS CACFP Meal Pattern Waiver (MPW) Team within two business days that provides approval or denial of the application. If no response is received after two business days, CACFP Operators should contact the CDSS CACFP MPW Team at CACFPMPW@dss.ca.gov to determine the status of their application.
What are the effective dates?
An approved Fluid Milk Exemption Application is effective from the start date of the emergency until the emergency conditions end, but this flexibility is only granted through the end of the program year (September 30th) in which the application was approved.
A CACFP Operator experiencing an emergency that prevents them from temporarily meeting the fluid milk requirement that continues into the next program year (starting October 1) must submit a new CDSS CACFP Fluid Milk Exemption Application at the beginning of the program year.
What are the documentation requirements for temporary fluid milk exemptions?
CACFP Operators who use the temporary fluid milk exemption and claim meals without the fluid milk component must retain the following documentation to support their inability to serve the fluid milk component. Examples of documentation include:
- The email sent by the CDSS CACFP MPW Team that approves the application submitted by the CACFP Program to temporarily not serve the fluid milk component
- Dated vendor delivery receipts indicating the inability to provide milk
- Refrigerator service request documents as proof of a malfunctioning refrigerator causing the inability to provide milk
CACFP Operators must retain this documentation for three program years plus the current program year.
May CACFP Operators request a temporary fluid milk exemption for creditable fluid milk substitutes?
Yes. CACFP Operators who are experiencing an emergency such as supply chain issues and temporary storage limitations as stated above that prevents them from obtaining creditable fluid milk substitutes, such as a creditable soy beverage, may submit a CDSS CACFP Fluid Milk Exemption Application. If approved, the CACFP Operator is temporarily not required to serve meals with a creditable fluid milk substitute.
Per 7 CFR, Section 226.20(g)(3), creditable fluid milk substitutes are nondairy beverages that meet the federal minimum nutrient standards in the table below.
||Per cup (8 fluid oz)
May CACFP Operators request a temporary fluid milk exemption for fluid milk substitutions listed on a medical statement for participants with disabilities?
No. CACFP Operators must accommodate all meal modifications related to a disability. For example, if a participant has a medical statement that recommends almond beverage be served due to the participant’s allergy to dairy and soy, the CACFP Operator must accommodate the disability/allergy. If an almond beverage is not available due to emergency conditions, the CACFP Operator should work with the child’s parents or guardian, participating adult, or a person acting on behalf of the adult participant to develop a solution as quickly as possible; for example, providing an oat, rice, or pea beverage.
For more information on accommodating meals for participants with and without disabilities, access the CDSS Menu Modifications in the CACFP web page.
Are temporary fluid milk exemptions retroactive to the start date of the emergency condition?
Yes. CACFP Operators who receive approval from the CDSS to temporarily serve meals without the fluid milk component may claim meals that do not include the fluid milk component from the start date of the emergency condition only. However, the CACFP Operator must have documentation (e.g., dated vendor delivery receipts) to support their inability to serve the fluid milk component during this time and retain this documentation for three program years plus the current program year.
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