Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service: Certification of Compliance With Meal Requirements for the National School Lunch Program Under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010
GAO-12-716R: May 15, 2012
GAO reviewed the Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service's (FNS) new rule on certification of compliance with meal requirements for the National School Lunch Program under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. GAO found that (1) the interim final rule amends National School Lunch Program (NSLP) regulations to conform to requirements contained in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (HHFKA) regarding performance-based cash assistance for school food authorities certified compliant with meal pattern and nutrition standards. The interim rule requires state agencies to certify participating school food authorities (SFAs) that are in compliance with meal pattern and nutrition standard requirements as eligible to receive performance-based cash assistance for each reimbursable lunch served (an additional six cents per lunch available beginning October 1, 2012, and adjusted annually thereafter). The interim rule also requires state agencies to disburse performance-based cash assistance to certified SFAs, and withhold the performance-based cash assistance if the SFA is determined to be out of compliance with meal pattern or nutrition standards during a subsequent administrative review. The intended effect of the interim rule is to provide additional funding for SFAs to implement new meal pattern requirements, thus increasing the healthfulness of meals served to school children; and (2) FNS complied with applicable requirements in promulgating the rule.