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Meal Pattern Minute: Medical Statements with Soy Milk

March 17, 2023

Soy milk is an alternative milk that may be part of a reimbursable meal in the Child and Adult Care Food Program. However, many CACFP operators want to know if additional documentation is required to serve soy milk. Do you need a medical statement signed by a licensed health care professional or will a parent letter do the trick? 

Tune in and listen to our nutrition education specialist, Isabel Ramos-Lebron, MS, RDN, LD, where she will explain how soy milk could be part of a CACFP reimbursable meal and/or snack.  

Want more information on soy milk, we have got you covered! Check out all the resources found on USDA and National CACFP Sponsors Association to help you decided if soy milk will be part of your CACFP meal/snack offerings. 

  • Crediting Fluid Milk Tip Sheet
    • Milk substitutes must be nutritionally equivalent to milk and provide specific levels of calcium, protein, vitamins A and D, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, riboflavin, and vitamin B-12 and must be consistent with State and local standards.
    • Nondairy beverages offered as fluid milk substitutes may also be offered in Child Nutrition Programs. However, they must be nutritionally equivalent to fluid milk and provide certain amounts of specific nutrients (except for Summer Food Service Program).
    • If a milk substitute is desired for a child, the parent/guardian must request the substitute in writing, and the milk substitute must be nutritionally equivalent to milk, except for SFSP.
  • Fluid Milk Section of the Crediting Handbook for the CACFP
    • For children or adults who cannot consume fluid milk, or who do not wish to consume milk for religious or ethical reasons, non-dairy beverages may be served in place of fluid milk. Non-dairy beverages must be nutritionally equivalent to cow’s milk and meet the nutritional standards identified in the table to the right. Non-dairy beverages served to children 1 through 5 years old must be unflavored due to the higher sugar content of flavored varieties.
    • Children or adults who do not consume milk for religious or ethical reasons may be served a non-dairy beverage that is nutritionally equivalent to cow’s milk. A parent, guardian, adult participant, or a person on behalf of the adult participant must provide a written request for the non-dairy beverage substitute. For example, if a parent has a child who follows a vegan diet, the parent must submit a written request to the child’s center or day care home asking that a soy beverage (commonly known as soy milk) be served in place of cow’s milk. A medical statement is not required.
    • A medical statement is required when, due to a disability, a program participant requests a non-dairy substitution that does not meet the nutritional standards of cow’s milk as described in the above chart.
  • Milk in the CACFP
    • Are soy beverages creditable? Some fortified soy beverages may be creditable and served in the CACFP when the parent has submitted a written request and the soy beverage is nutritionally equivalent to cow’s milk. 
  • NCA Members can also download Substituting Milk in the CACFP for practical information when serving fluid milk and helps answer some common questions on not only soy milk but other milk alternatives.

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