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Meal Modifications Accommodations

Federal law and USDA regulation require school nutrition programs to make reasonable modifications to accommodate children with disabilities or impairments. Under the law, a disability is an impairment which substantially limits a major life activity or bodily function, which can include allergies and digestive conditions, but does not include personal diet preferences. Substitutions or modification for children with impairments must be based on a written medical statement by a licensed healthcare professional with the ability to write prescriptions in the State of Tennessee. The statement must include the following information:

  • How the impairment affects the child
  • What must be done to accommodate the child’s diet
  • Foods to be omitted
  • Foods to be substituted
  • Signature of State-recognized Medical Authority*

Other Meal Modification Needs

SFAs are encouraged, but not required, to consider children's cultural, religious, and ethical preferences when planning and preparing meals. In many cases, these special nutrition needs can be accommodated through offer verses serve or by providing additional meal choices.

Additional guidance on the definitions of a licensed physician and recognized medical authority is available.

Record Maintenance

  • All student medical information must be maintained in a confidential manner.
  • Information is only shared with other school personnel who have direct contact with the student or who need information for the student’s safety.
  • Never revise or change a diet prescription.
  • If the diet changes, a new prescription must be obtained from the licensed physician or recognized medical authority.
  • New diet prescriptions must be dated so that it is clear which diet prescription is current.
  • Discontinued meal modification forms/ prescriptions and related documentation, such as team meeting notes, should be maintained in accordance with the school’s established policies and procedures.

Resources