USDA FNS is issuing a final rule requiring school food authorities participating in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) or the School Breakfast Program (SBP) to develop a school food safety program, based on the hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) system.

Organization: USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS)

Source: Federal Register: December 15, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 239)

Effective Date: January 14, 2010

Web site: The Federal Register notice is at

Contact: William Wagoner or Marisol Benesch, Policy and Program Development Branch, Child Nutrition Division, Food and Nutrition Service at (703) 305-2590, or

Summary: Section 111 of the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004 (Pub. L. 108-265; June 30, 2004) amended section 9(h) of the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act (NSLA) (42 U.S.C. 1758(h)) by adding the requirement that school food authorities (SFAs) implement a food safety program at each food preparation and service facility participating in the NSLP or the SBP. The food safety program, which became a requirement in the school year beginning July 1, 2005, must be based on the HACCP system established by the Secretary of Agriculture. A HACCP-based food safety program should enable SFAs to identify potential food hazards, identify critical points where hazards can be controlled or minimized through control measures, and establish monitoring procedures and corrective action.

Prior to Public Law 108-265, there was no federal requirement for a HACCP-based food safety program for SFAs participating in the NSLP and SBP. Program regulations only required SFAs to follow State and local sanitation and health standards. SFAs were expected to check food temperatures per State and local regulations, but were not required to follow a systematic food safety program.

To provide guidance and help SFAs implement the required food safety program in School Year 2005-2006, FNS issued two memoranda in January 2005 and July 2006, as well as “Guidance for School Food Authorities: Developing a School Food Safety Program Based on the Process Approach to HACCP Principles” in June 2005, This practical guidance was followed by a proposed rule published in the Federal Register on August 5, 2008 (73 FR 45359). The FNS guidance and the proposed rule recommend the Process Approach because it is considered easier to implement than the traditional HACCP method. The Process Approach, developed by the Food and Drug Administration, simplifies traditional HACCP by grouping foods according to preparation process and applying the same control measures to all menu items within a group, instead of developing a HACCP plan for each item. The proposed rule also gave SFAs the option to implement traditional HACCP.

This final rule codifies the requirements set forth in the proposed rule. The statutory requirement has already been implemented by program operators with the assistance of guidance, technical assistance, and training from FNS and the National Food Service Management Institute (NFSMI).

Prepared by: This message was distributed by Cindy Roberts, who may be reached at e-mail: or 202-669-6951

This article (#11745) was distributed by e-mail on December 15, 2009 to those whose names are on the FIEN, LLC Subject Matter Distribution Lists for Food Safety