Special Meal Accommodations
MEAL SUBSTITUTIONS FOR MEDICAL OR SPECIAL DIETARY REASONS
USDA Regulation 7 CFR Part 15b requires substitutions or modifications in school meals for children whose disabilities restrict their diets. A child with a disability must be provided substitutions in foods when that need is supported by a signed statement from a licensed healthcare professional such as a licensed physician, physician assistant or nurse practitioner.
After the passage of the ADA Amendments Act, most physical and mental impairments constitute a disability. According to the ADA the term 'disability' means:
In Cases of Food Allergy
According to the ADA, physical or mental impairments do not need to be life threatening to constitute a disability. For example, a food allergy does not need to cause anaphylaxis in order to be considered a disability. A non-life threatening allergy may be considered a disability and require a meal modification, if it impacts a major bodily function or other major life activity. A child's impairment also may be considered a disability even if medication or other mitigating measures reduce the impact of the impairment.
Medical Statement for Children with Special Dietary Needs
Each special dietary request must be supported by a statement explaining the requested food substitution and must be signed by a licensed healthcare professional. Medical statements completed by parents or guardians will not be accepted. The Medical Statement must:
A written medical statement from a licensed healthcare professional must be received in order to accommodate any meal modifications outside of the regular meal pattern requirements.
Children with special dietary needs that ore not considered a disability, such as accommodations related to religious or moral convictions, or personal preference that a child eat a specific diet because of general health concerns, are not disabilities and do not require a modification.