The CDE permits the following state licensed healthcare professionals to complete and sign a written medical statement for a disability determination: licensed physicians, physician assistants, or nurse practitioners.California does not recognize other medical authorities as authorized to sign a written medical statement to determine a child’s diet. This MB provides clarification to child nutrition program (CNP) sponsors on the process, requirements, options, and resources for accommodating children, with and without disabilities, who have special dietary needs.
A written medical statement or Medical Statement form must be signed by a recognized medical authority.It is important that Agencies reiterate to the child’s family that the written medical statement needs to contain the most current diet order from the child’s recognized medical authority.This MB contains updated information regarding the definition of a recognized medical professional.The CDE recommends that sponsors read this MB in its entirety.Agencies have the option of making dietary accommodations for children who do not have a disability but are certified as having a medical or dietary need.
It is important to note that the Agency can make accommodations for children with special dietary needs on a case-by-case basis.
The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Education of the Handicapped Act of 1975, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 state that persons with disabilities have the support of these laws that prohibit discrimination and require that children be provided with a free and appropriate public education. In 2015, the USDA permitted states to expand the list of recognized medical authorities to improve access to meal accommodations for children with special dietary needs and alleviate administrative burden for the CNPs.
For more information, please refer to USDA Policy Memorandum SP 32-2015, SFSP 15-2015, CACFP 13-2015: Statements Supporting Accommodations for Children with Disabilities in the CNPs on the USDA Food and Nutrition Service School Meals Policy Web page at
However, the Agency must ensure that the accommodation is supported by a written medical statement or completed Medical Statement form signed by a licensed physician, a physician assistant, or a nurse practitioner.
The medical statement must clearly identify the child’s: Generally, children with food allergies or intolerances do not have a disability as defined under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Part B.
An IEP does not supersede the recognized medical authority’s written medical statement.