Special Dietary Needs
Who is eligibility?
USDA’s nondiscrimination regulation (7 CFR 15b), along with other National School Lunch Program regulations, make it clear that substitutions for a regular meal must be made for children who are unable to eat school meals because of their disabilities, in which the disability is certified/documented by a licensed physician.
Special Dietary Needs that are considered a Disability, but is not restricted to, are as follows:
- Food anaphylaxis (life threatening food allergy)
- Celiac Disease
- Phenylketonuria (also known as PKU)
What documentation is needed?
The Food Allergy Action Plan & Special Diet Request Form must be filled out by a medical professional and signed by a licensed physician (MD or OD). You can retrieve the forms here or from your school nurse.
The following information must be provided in the Special Diet Form:
- The child’s disability (i.e. food allergy, medical condition, etc.);
- An explanation of why disability restricts the child’s diet;
- The major life activities affected by disability;
- The food or foods to be omitted from the child’s diet, and the food or choice of foods that must be substituted.
What if my child has special dietary needs but not a disability?
Schools are not required to make food substitutions for children without disabilities. Children with special dietary needs, not considered a disability, can submit their Food Allergy Action Plan & Special Diet Request Form to Food and Nutrition Services and they will determine whether they can accommodate the request or not.