Accessible Version
Official Seal of the California Department of Education

CDE Application

October 1, 2021–June 30, 2022
COVID-19 School Nutrition Programs
Meal Pattern Waiver

Nutrition Services Division

On April 20, 2021, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued COVID–19 Child Nutrition Response #90: Nationwide Waiver to Allow Specific School Meal Pattern Flexibility for School Year 2021–22. This allows School Nutrition Program (SNP) Operators to submit a request to the California Department of Education (CDE) to waive one or more of the following meal pattern requirements.

SNP Operators can request to waive one or more of the following meal pattern requirements, effective October 1, 2021:
  1. Menus must meet the dietary specification for sodium

  2. All grains offered must be whole grain-rich

  3. For preschoolers, at least one serving per day, across all eating occasions, must be whole grain-rich

  4. A variety of vegetables from the vegetable subgroups must be offered

  5. A variety (at least two different options) of fluid milk must be offered

  6. Low-fat milk must be unflavored.

  7. Plan menus and offer food components for specified age and grade groups in the stated combinations
(Note that as a result of the federal Appropriations Act of 2021, flavored 1% milk may be served without a waiver through March 11, 2022.)
You are required to answer all questions in this application. The application will take approximately 10 minutes to complete. For assistance with completing this application, please contact the CDE SNP Meal Pattern Waiver (MPW) Team by email at

After applying, you may be contacted to provide further details about the use of this waiver, in addition to the details requested in this application.

The USDA requires that meal pattern flexibilities only be used to the extent needed. As a result, this waiver is categorized as a “Limited Use Waiver.” Once approved, the flexibilities are valid through June 30, 2022 but should be used on an as-needed basis only.

If you are unable to meet a meal pattern requirement that is not addressed in this MPW application, and is specifically due to supply chain issues, you will need to maintain documentation on file. The USDA has released COVID-19: Child Nutrition Response #100, which allows states to exercise fiscal action flexibility for meal pattern violations related to COVID-19 supply chain disruptions.

By submitting this SNP MPW Application for one or more of the specified meal pattern requirements listed above, you acknowledge that you understand that that the flexibilities are to be used on an as-needed basis.

If approved, you will receive an email from with the Subject line, Approval of SNP MPW Application, within two business days after submission. This email provides approval to waive the meal pattern requirement(s) requested in the SNP MPW Application and provides guidance on the use of the waiver.

If you do not receive this email within two business days, contact the CDE SNP MPW Team at
Effective Dates:

Flexibilities are available beginning October 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022.

If you need to waive another program or additional meal pattern option, submit another SNP MPW application.
Additional Information:

Additional SNP MPW information is available in the Meal Patterns Flexibility section in the SNP tab of the CDE COVID-19 Guidance in the Child Nutrition Programs web page.

Agency Information

 Please provide one or both of the following identification numbers to submit this application:    
 Please provide the required agency identification information below:
 Vendor Number may include 5 digits and a letter 'Z' at the end (example 12345Z) OR 4 digits with a letter 'C' or 'A' at the beginning and a letter 'Z' at the end (example A1234Z or C1234Z)
 If not listed, enter your agency's business name below: