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Meal Pattern Minute: CN Labels

May 26, 2023

Having a Child Nutrition Label for some of your purchased products is a requirement in the Child and Adult Care Food Program and when not available, a Product Formulation is needed. But what does a CN label tell you about the product? Why do you need to have it? 


Well, the short answer to this question is just a click away on the Meal Pattern Minute. Isabel Ramos-Lebron, MS, RDN, LD, will provide you with a quick snapshot on what the CN label is all about. 


However, if you want to dive in a little deeper on this topic, read below. 

The USDA, Child Nutrition (CN) Labeling Program provides food manufacturers the option to include a standardized food crediting statement on their product label. Labels must be authorized by USDA, FNS prior to use and manufacturers must have quality control procedures and inspection oversight that meet the FNS requirements. Products produced in accordance with the CN Labeling Program are generally purchased by foodservice providers for FNS meal programs. 

CN labels tell us how a product contributes to the meal pattern. The manufacturer voluntarily submits their product to the USDA to get a CN label. The CACFP provides a warranty against audit claims for those who purchase CN labeled products. As a CN label statement clearly identifies the contribution of a product toward the meal pattern requirements, it protects programs from exaggerated claims about a product. CN labeling makes menu writing easier and gives peace of mind during audits.  

For additional information on CN Labels look at USDA CN Labeling program and the National CACFP Sponsors Association blog post, “All About Child Nutrition Labels.Here, we provide further details on resources to help you stay up to date with CN labels including webinars, CN label verification report, CN label manufacturers report, and a free printable resource on how to read a CN label. 


If you don’t want to deal with a CN label, try making a recipe from scratch! Here are a couple of recipes to try. 

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