Child Nutrition Program (CNP) Operators participating in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), National School Lunch Program (NSLP), School Breakfast Program (SBP), and Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) must not offer to children under four years of age foods that pose the highest risk for choking.
FNP's policy applies to CACFP Centers, Day Care Homes (DCH), School Food Authorities (SFA), and SFSP sites serving children under four years of age.
Based on guidance from the USDA*, foods that pose the highest risk for choking are foods that possess the following characteristics: "round, tube-shaped, small, hard, thick and sticky, smooth, slippery, or easily molded to stick to the airway." In order to align with Massachusetts state licensing and USDA's recommendations, FNP's policy restricts the serving of the following foods to children under four years of age:
There are many items that are not included in the above list, which may still pose a choking hazard due to their shape or texture. FNP asks CNP operators to consider the aforementioned characteristics when feeding children under the age of four; and alter any food items that may pose a risk. CNP operators shall alter food items so that they can be served in manageable bites, no larger than a nickel in size, to pre-school age, toddlers and infant age groups.
To clarify, the foods listed in the bulleted list, are not to be served to children under the age of four, even using alternate food preparation methods. The information about alternate food preparation methods relates only to other foods not specifically identified.
Operators that enter into a contract to purchase meals from a food service vendor are responsible for ensuring that meals and snacks comply with FNP choking prevention policy.
Please share FNP's policy guidance ensuring that meals received meet the requirements for serving children under the age of four years old.
CACFP to implement in FY2018, NSLP and SBP to implement in FY2019 (July 1, 2018), and SFSP to implement in FY2018.
If you have any questions or need further assistance, please contact FNP at 781-338-6480 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906
Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370
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