Score 100%: Menu Review
Follow these steps to score 100% on the menu portion of the Administrative Review (AR). These steps have been fine-tuned for you by My K12 Resource throughout the years and have resulted in no fiscal action to our clients for over 100 reviews.
Let’s get started!
Create your timeline
Be proactive! Ideally, it is key to be “review ready” PRIOR to your review month. Some states will notify your department in the late Summer months of your scheduled review, while others provide a much shorter notification period. If your state agency has not provided a notification, try reaching out to them to see if they can provide estimated time frame.
The GOAL is to have your menu review ready prior to your review month, which typically happens Dec- April.
Let’s take a quick step back and review just how the menus portion of the AR is conducted. The state first requests a “month of review.” Part of that month of review includes a review of one week of menus (recipes, labels, etc.), and up to one month of production records. This allows the state a snapshot view to see if the menus are meeting regulations. If there are issues, they may request the menus that you have planned for the rest of the month or even all months leading up to the review.
Then, when the state is onsite, they may request the menus and production records for the week(s) that they are onsite and/or the day(s) that they are there. So it's important to be proactive and make sure the month of review, week of review, and day of review are all in order.
Conducting a Mock Review
Stay sane by getting started as early as possible. If you know it is a review year (reviews occur every 3 years), it is best to have your menus in order at the start of the school year. However, if school has already started, today is a new day and now is the time to get started! To reduce errors on your AR, you should conduct a mock review on your menus, recipes, labels, and production records.
Follow these steps to conduct a Mock Review.
#1-Label Review + Ingredients
Did you know that each school year you are required to update ALL of your nutrition facts labels, Child Nutrition(CN) labels, and Product Formulation Statements (PFS), according to most state agencies? This is the perfect starting point. Reach out to your food vendors and start collecting the labels. Make sure to have a list of all your ingredients that you use, and for anything that is not a standard identity, an updated label should be obtained.
Need assistance with updating labels? Let us help out!
Now that you have updated labels, it is important to update those recipes for any component changes. Also, conduct a 7-point check on all recipes. Keep in mind that USDA regulations say you must have a recipe for all menu items.
There are two parts to conducting a review: components and nutrition. Let’s focus on the component portion. You will need to check that your menus are meeting the minimum required components for the daily and weekly regulations. You can do this several ways:
· Using the 6 Cent Worksheet by USDA
· Hiring a company that specializes in Admin Review
The nutrition portion varies state to state; reach out to us to learn more about your specific state's requirements. Let's focus on the component portion for now.
#4-Production Record Review
Remember that production records are the “proof” that you have planned and served a reimbursable meal. Start by making sure that your production records meet USDA regulations by reviewing this quick handout by WA OSPI. Audit your own records by checking that you made enough food to satisfy the minimum amounts for the number of meals that you are claiming. This is why it is so important to write down the amount of leftovers, and of course, how much was initially produced.
We hope that you now have a starting point on how to conduct your mock review. Stick to your timeline and carve out time to complete each task. Visit www.myk12resouce.com for more info, tips, and training on successfully implementing the USDA regulations. If you are interested in having My K12 Resource do a mock review for you, reach out to us to get a quote!