Department school nutrition team provides reminders to districts

School Food Service Enrollment

Enrollment numbers in the National School Lunch Program are collected every November when a district files its October claim information.  The food service enrollment includes all grades that are offered a meal.  This year, districts will need to enter elementary and secondary grades (defined as grades 9-12) enrollment and eligibility numbers. This information is used for the yearly ED534 Report that is used for grants in several District applications.  For more information or technical assistance, please contact Maine DOE Child Nutrition Specialist Nanci Kitredge at nanci.kitredge@maine.gov.

Verification resources

The School Food Service Department Verification Report asks for the district number. The Maine DOE Child Nutrition team uses the same codes as the U.S. Department of Education. The district codes can be found here. The verification report is due no later than Nov. 20 each year.  All districts must submit the verification report, which can be found here. For more information or technical assistance, please contact Maine DOE Child Nutrition Specialist David Hartley at david.hartley@maine.gov.

ServSafe® exam upcoming

In Maine, all kitchens must have a Certified Food Protection Manager. The National ServSafe® certification is one course/test that will satisfy the Maine requirement. The next ServSafe® exam for school food service staff is Wednesday, Jan. 7 at the Cross Office Building in Augusta.  The test begins at 2 p.m. and will be held in Room 541 on the Fifth Floor. Participants will need to bring pencils or pens with erasers and photo ID.  The deadline to register is Thursday, Dec. 24 and can be completed by emailing david.hartley@maine.gov. The cost of the exam is $40.

Clarity on breakfast items versus components

To participate in the National School Breakfast Program, schools must offer four (4) items from three (3) components (fruit, grain and milk) for breakfast.

food component is one of three food groups that comprise reimbursable breakfasts. These are: fruits (or vegetables as substitute); grains (with optional meat/meat alternate); and fluid milk. Schools must always offer all three food components in at least the minimum daily required quantities. Meanwhile, a food item is a specific food offered within the three food components. For the purposes of Offer Versus Serve (OVS), a school must offer at least four food items from the three required food. Under OVS, the student must select three food items, including at least ½ cup of fruits, to have a reimbursable breakfast.

Except for selecting a half cup of fruit, it is the student’s choice to select or decline food items.  It is up to the menu planner to determine how many duplicate items students can take for a reimbursable meal.  For example, two juices and one cereal bowl is a reimbursable breakfast under USDA guidelines. However, if the menu planner chooses to be more restrictive by not allowing duplicate items (two juices), they may do so.

USDA food delivery delays

There have been a number of trucks that USDA has had to push back due to availability.  This means the product is still coming but a month later.  Menus may have to be adjusted to reflect this delivery change.

The products that have been pushed back are:

  • September diced pears rescheduled to Nov. 30
  •  October frozen carrots rescheduled to Nov. 15
  •  October beef patties rescheduled to Dec. 31
  •  October frozen peas rescheduled to Jan. 15
  •  November diced peaches rescheduled to Dec. 31
  •  November pork roast rescheduled to Dec. 31
  •  November turkey roast rescheduled to Jan. 15
  •  December beef patties rescheduled to Jan. 15
  •  December chicken fajita rescheduled to Jan. 15

One truck has been cancelled to date which would have contained turkey roast for October. There is still a good selection and amount of product available as extras to school districts that can be ordered when districts do their monthly order between the 1st and the 15th.  The deadline for all monthly ordering is the 15th of every month.  Extras are ordered by using the link at the bottom of the monthly order “extras/offers” after you “submit” your regular order.  Everything must be “submitted” for a successful order.  Save does not place an order.