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Preparing for a Review


The Administrative Review (AR) take place every five years (Food Service Management Companies are every three years) and focuses on areas as defined by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Critical areas include benefit issuance, meal counting and claiming, the meal pattern, and nutritional quality requirements. General areas address resource management, wellness policy, food safety, procurement, professional standards, and other areas of compliance.

The review process is designed to allow the State Agency (SA) to conduct parts of the review off-site and other aspects on-site. Off-site sections will be completed collaboratively between Bureau Consultants and the school district administrative and food service staff; the tool covers a variety of areas, so input from several district staff persons may be needed.

Your assigned Nutrition Consultant from the Iowa Department of Education's Bureau of Nutrition and Health Services will send review guidance following the scheduling of your review. SFAs should be meeting program requirements at all times; therefore, it is never too early to get organized and review your program to ensure compliance.

The following information can assist you in preparing for your AR. Additional resources can be found in the menu bar to the left.

Preparing for an Administrative Review - Checklist to help compile and organize materials needed.

Certification and Benefit Issuance - Are free and reduced-priced applications approved and benefits issued correctly?

Meal Counting and Claiming - Does the system for counting meals consistently yield correct claims? Does each food service line have an accurate point of service count?

  • Daily point-of-service procedures determine all meals meet meal pattern requirements.
  • Daily meal counts by category are combined for each school in the LEA and submitted in the monthly claim for reimbursement.
  • Developing a Meal Charging Policy - School Food Authorities are required to have a policy describing how students without funds in an account and no cash to purchase a meal will be impacted. Document provides suggestions and important points to consider in developing a policy.

Nutritional Quality and Meal Patterns - Do meals meet daily and weekly requirements for items/components?

Verification - Has verification been conducted and reported by November 15?

Resource Management - Have you worked with your Bureau Consultant to complete the Off-Site Resource Management Questionnaire? Is the USDA nonprogram revenue tool or financial report on IowaCNP correct?

  • All food sold in a school and purchased with funds from the nonprofit school food service account, other than meals and supplements reimbursed by USDA, must generate revenue at least equal to the full cost of such foods.

Civil Rights - Does the SFA comply with Civil Rights Provisions?

SFA On-Site Monitoring - Has the SFA performed on-site monitoring of meal counting and claiming in all schools for breakfast and lunch by February 1?

School Wellness Policy - Is there a wellness policy in place? Does it meet all requirements?

Competitive Foods - Do all foods sold to students at school before school, during, and 30 minutes after the school day comply with the USDA Smart Snacks standards?

Water - Do children have access to free water during meal service?

Food Safety - Is food prepared, served, and stored in a safe manner?

Reporting and Recordkeeping - Are reports submitted and records maintained as required?

  • Program reports and records need to be kept for three years (plus the current year).

Nutrition Staff Professional Standards - Hiring standards and continued professional development/training is required for school nutrition employees.

School Breakfast and Summer Food Service Program Outreach - Has the SFA conducted breakfast and summer outreach?

  • Schools participating in the School Breakfast Program must inform families of the availability of breakfast. A notification must be relayed at the beginning of the school year in informational packets that are sent to each household with free and reduced price meal applications, as well as reminders sent out throughout the school year.

  • Schools participating in the National School Lunch Program are required to provide outreach to households on the availability and location of summer meals, whether the school participates in the SFSP or not.

Procurement - How are you purchasing goods and services?