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Meal Pattern Minute: Deli Meats

September 1, 2023

There are many meat/meat alternates that can be easily credited in the Child and Adult Care Food Program such as cooked chicken, tofu, fish, and eggs. But whether it is chicken, turkey, beef, pork or other type of luncheon (deli) meat added to a sandwich, pasta salad, or pizza, can this type of meat/meat alternate be credited towards the CACFP? 


Can’t wait another moment to find out? In just a minute, Isabel Ramos-Lebron, MS, RDN, LD, answers this question on how deli meat may be creditable in the CACFP. 


A few terms were discussed in this Meal Pattern Minute: Child Nutrition (CN) Label and Product Formulation Statement (PFS). If you would like to learn more in-depth about each of these crediting statements check out the definitions and links below. 

The Child Nutrition (CN) Labeling Program is a voluntary Federal labeling program for the Child Nutrition Programs. CN Labeling Program applies to food-based menu planning approaches for the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program, Child and Adult Care Food Program, and Summer Food Service Program. The CN label on a product communicates how the product contributes to USDA meal pattern requirements. 

A manufacturer’s product formulation statement (PFS) is a signed certified document that provides a way for a manufacturer to demonstrate how a product may contribute to the meal pattern requirements of the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA), Child Nutrition (CN) programs. A PFS is typically provided for processed products that do not have a CN Label. 


Finding additional supportive resources for deli meat are just a click away. See the information below to learn more about crediting luncheon meats in the CACFP. 

In the Crediting Handbook for Child and Adult Care Food Program, you can find the food item “Luncheon Meats (Chicken, Turkey, Beef, Pork, all Deli Meats). It credits as a maybe because you will need to check the Food Buying Guide or have a (1) C label or (2) Product Formulation Statement to determine if the deli meat is creditable. 

Also, for a quick reference you can go to USDA resource, Crediting Meats/Meat Alternates in the Child Nutrition Programs Tip Sheet. Along with other food items that contain meats/meat alternates but may not appear in the Food Buying Guide but still may be creditable in the CACFP, it references that with proper documentation (CN label or PFS) could make the luncheon meet creditable as part of a reimbursable meal. 


Want a few meats/meat alternates lunch recipes that do not require a CN label or PFS? Check the recipes below for recipes that you could add to your menu. 


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