Evaluate Foods for CNS Compliance
Public schools that choose the healthy food option of HFC under Section 10-215f of the Connecticut General Statutes must follow the CNS for all foods sold to students separately from reimbursable school meals. The CNS applies to all sources of food sales on school premises at all times, such as cafeteria a la carte sales, school stores, vending machines, fundraisers, culinary programs, and any other sources of food sales. Schools must determine that food items comply with the CNS before selling them to students. For information on the requirements for fundraisers, review the CSDE's handout, Food and Beverage Requirements for Fundraisers.
Note: The evaluation of a food for compliance with the CNS is based on the food item as served, including any added accompaniments such as butter, cream cheese, syrup, ketchup, mustard, and salad dressing. For example, if a bagel is served with cream cheese, the nutrition information per serving must include the combined amount of calories, fat, saturated fat, trans fat, sodium, fiber, and sugars for both foods. Other examples include salad with dressing; vegetables, rice, or pasta with added fat (e.g., oil, butter, or margarine) and salt; soup with grated cheese; chicken nuggets with dipping sauce; mashed potatoes with gravy; french fries with ketchup; egg rolls with duck sauce; and pancakes with syrup. The nutrition information of an accompaniment can be determined using the average portion served with the food. Documentation of this information must be maintained on file.
Commercially Prepared Foods
Schools should use the CSDE’s List of Acceptable Foods and Beverages to identify commercial foods that meet the CNS and commercial beverages that meet the requirements of state statute (C.G.S. Section 10-221q). Please submit the nutrition information for new products to the CSDE for review. The handout, Submitting Foods and Beverage Products for Approval, summarizes the information needed by the CSDE to review foods and beverages for compliance with the state requirements.
- How to Evaluate Purchased Foods for Compliance with the CNS (CSDE)
- List of Acceptable Foods and Beverages (CSDE)
- Submitting Foods and Beverage Products for Approval (CSDE)
Foods Made from Scratch
To ensure compliance with the CNS, schools must conduct a nutrient analysis of all recipes used to prepare food items sold to students separately from reimbursable meals. School-made foods include:
- foods that are prepared from scratch using a recipe, e.g., entrees sold only a la carte, soup, baked goods, cooked grains and vegetables; and
- foods that require some additional processing by adding other ingredients after purchasing, e.g., assembling a sandwich, popping popcorn kernels in oil or making cookies from a mix and adding butter and eggs.
To determine whether a recipe complies with the CNS, schools must calculate the recipe’s nutrition information using worksheet 9, then enter this information into the appropriate worksheet for the food category (see CNS worksheets 1-8 below). If the recipe is missing nutrition information for sugars, calculate this information using CNS worksheet 10.
- Guidance on Evaluating Recipes for Compliance with the CNS (CSDE)
- How to Evaluate Foods Made from Scratch for Compliance with the CNS (CSDE)
Note: A nutrient analysis is not required for entrees that are sold as part of reimbursable meals in NSLP and SBP, and are also sold a la carte at the same meal on the same day. These entrees are exempt from the CNS. This exemption applies only to the three categories of main dish entree items as defined by the CNS.
These worksheets evaluate foods and recipes for CNS compliance.
- Worksheet 1: Snacks (CSDE)
- Worksheet 2: Yogurt and Pudding (CSDE)
- Worksheet 3: Smoothies (CSDE)
- Worksheet 4: Fruits and Vegetables (CSDE)
- Worksheet 5: Soups (CSDE)
- Worksheet 6: Cooked Grains (CSDE)
- Worksheet 7: Entrees (CSDE)
- Worksheet 8: Non-entree Combination Foods (CSDE)
- Worksheet 9: Nutrient Analysis of Recipes (CSDE)
- Worksheet 10: Evaluating Recipes for Sugars (CSDE)