Connecticut Nutrition Standards

How To

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, refer to the CSDE's 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 nutrients for both foods. Other examples of foods served with accompaniments 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  |   Foods Made from Scratch
Nutrient Analysis  |   CNS Worksheets

Commercially Prepared Foods

Schools must 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 CSDE's Submitting Foods and Beverage Products for Approval summarizes the procedure and required information for submitting commercial products for CSDE approval. 

Foods Made from Scratch

Before selling foods made from scratch to students, the selling entity must ensure that the recipe’s serving (including added accompaniments) complies with the applicable CNS food category. The following documentation is required for all foods in the two categories of foods made from scratch below: 1) a standardized recipe with the nutrition information per serving (including any accompaniments served with the food); and 2) the appropriate completed CNS Worksheet indicating that the standardized recipe’s serving with its accompaniments complies with the CNS. This documentation must be maintained on file for the annual HFC documentation review.

Category 1: foods prepared from ingredients using a standardized recipe: Examples include entrees sold only a la carte (i.e., not as part of reimbursable NSLP and SBP meals) such as pizza, chef’s salad, lasagna, and sandwiches; soups; cooked grains (such as rice or pasta) with added salt and fat, e.g., oil, margarine, or butter; cooked vegetables with added salt and fat; salad with dressing; fruit smoothies; and baked goods like muffins and cookies.

Category 2: commercial foods with ingredients added after purchasing: Examples include popping popcorn kernels in oil and adding salt; making muffins from a mix and adding butter and eggs; and adding sprinkles to commercial frozen cookie dough. Note: Adding ingredients to a commercial product changes its nutrition information. To determine CNS compliance, these foods require a standardized recipe that indicates the amount of each ingredient and the nutrition information per serving.

Nutrient Analysis

CNS Worksheets

These worksheets evaluate foods and recipes for CNS compliance.