*Note: This page contains materials in the Portable Document Format (PDF). The free Adobe Reader may be required to view these files.Main dish combination products that are commercially processed (such as ravioli, beef stew, spaghetti with meat sauce, egg rolls, pizza, chicken nuggets, fish sticks, etc.) must have a CN Label or Manufacturer's Analysis Sheet to show that the products contain sufficient quantities of meat/meat alternate, grains/breads, and/or vegetables/fruit to meet the meal pattern. Otherwise, it may not be counted toward a reimbursable meal.
Example of a CN Label
CN labels state the serving size of a product and the meal contribution per serving. They provide a warranty against audit claims and disallowances if the product is used in accordance with the manufacturer's directions.
CN labels are found on the outer packaging of products purchased in bulk. If you have your food delivered by a vendor or purchase your food at a warehouse type store, you should be able to obtain CN labeled products.
For a detailed explanation of CN labeling, please visit the USDA Food & Nutrition Service (FNS) website under the National School Lunch Program.
Product Formulation StatementA Product Formulation Statement (PFS) also states the serving size of a product and the meal contribution per serving. No two sheets look the same, but they will all contain a statement about the amount of meat or meat alternate, bread/grain, and/or fruit/vegetable component per serving. To obtain a Product Formulation Statement, call the 1-800 number on the packaging. Upon request the food manufacturer can fax or mail this information. This sheet must be signed by an official of the manufacturer, not a salesperson.
*A note about pizza- we have not been able to obtain a Product Formulation Statement for frozen pizza. When a frozen pizza is unwrapped, many of the toppings shift or fall off and need to be put back on; a manufacturer cannot guarantee the meal contribution for that pizza. Other CN labeled pizza products, such as pizza rolls or pizza sticks, pizza pockets, etc. are available.
How to Use CN Labels and the Serving Size Calculator
The serving size and meal contribution information on a CN label or Manufacturer's Analysis Sheet will help you determine the serving size you will need of a product to meet the meal component requirement for a particular age group. For example, if a 1 cup serving size provides 2 ounces of meat and you only need 1.5 ounces for lunch for 3-5 year olds, you can use the calculator below to help you calculate the serving size you need. The calculator can be reset to determine the serving size for each meal component in the product.
When using the calculator:
- Have your CN label or Manufacturer's Analysis Sheet with you.
- Use the information from your CN labels and Manufacturer's Analysis Sheets to fill in the designated fields.
- In the Meal Contribution box, use the drop down menu to choose the appropriate meal component.
- Use decimals only, do not use fractions. A table listing common fraction to decimal conversions is at the bottom of this page.
- Type in numbers only; do not type words.
- Always round your answer up to the nearest appropriate serving size.
- Reset the calculator to determine the serving size for each meal component in the product.
Serving Size Calculator
Decimal Equivalents of Commonly Used Fractions
|1/8 = 0.125||3/8 = 0.375||2/3 = 0.666|
|1/4 = 0.250||1/2 = 0.500||3/4 = 0.750|
|1/3 = 0.333||5/8 = 0.625||7/8 = 0.875|