Meal Substitutions for Medical 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 physician.
In Cases of Food Allergy
Generally, children with food allergies or intolerances do not have a disability, as defined under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act or Part B of IDEA, and school food service may, but is not required to, make food substitutions for them. However, when a physician statement is presented that food allergies may result in severe, life-threatening (anaphylactic) reactions, the child’s condition would meet the definition of “disability”, and the substitutions prescribed by the licensed physician must be made.
An common example of a non-life threatening allergy would be lactose intolerance, in which case the district is not required to offer a substitute for milk.
School nutrition services may make food substitutions at their discretion, for individual children who do not have a disability, but who are medically certified as having a special dietary need. Such determinations are made on a case-by-case basis. This provision covers those children who have food intolerances or allergies, but do not have life-threatening anaphylactic reactions when exposed to the food(s) with which they have problems.
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 recognized medical authority. The Medical Statement must include:
- An identification of the medical or other special dietary condition which restricts the child’s diet;
- The food or foods to be omitted from the child’s diet; and
- The food or choice of foods to be substituted.
If we do not receive a medical statement from a recognized medical authority, your child will receive a regular lunch tray. Medical statements completed by parents or guardians will not be accepted.