Based on USDA Memo:  SP 30-2012

For school year 2012-2013

  • The 14.75 grams standard can be used for determining a bread/grain credit/serving.  Alternatively, the new 16 gram ounce (oz) equivalent standard can also be used.
  • Half of the grains offered in the lunch program must be whole grain-rich, breakfast does not have this requirement for the 2012-2013 school year.

For school year 2013 – 2014

  • Half of the grains offered in the lunch and breakfast program must be whole grain-rich.
  • All baked grain products must be credited using oz equivalent standards, based on the standard of 16 grams of whole and/or enriched grain or based on minimum portion size shown in the updated Exhibit A, Groups A through G, of the Grains section of the Food Buying Guide for Child Nutrition Programs (and updated via the above referenced USDA memo) or eligibility may be determined from manufacturer data providing whole grain and enriched grain content as described in the referenced memo.  For the grains listed in Groups H and I* of the updated Exhibit A, the weights or volumes listed must be used.

For school year 2014 – 2015

  • All grains offered for school lunch and breakfast must be whole grain-rich and credited using the oz equivalent standards and the specified weights and volumes in the updated Exhibit A or as using manufacturer data providing whole grain and enriched grain content.
  • Whole Grain-Rich.  At least 50% of the grain content must be whole grain and the remaining grain, if any, must be enriched (with the exception applied to ready-to-eat (RTE) cereal* where it need only have whole grain as the primary grain ingredient and be fortified).  Additionally the item must meet two elements:

1.  The food serving must meet the portion size requirements for Grains as defined in the updated Exhibit A or determined based on a manufacturer’s labeling or data that provides whole grain and enriched grain content at the discretion of the school food authority.


2.    The food must meet at least one of the following:

  • The whole grains per serving must be 8 grams or more.
  • The product qualifies for and bears the FDA-approved whole grain health claim.
  •  The product ingredient list contains whole grain as the first ingredient with an exception for water for non-mixed dishes (breads, pastas, etc).  In mixed dishes (pizza, corn dogs, etc), a whole grain must be the primary grain ingredient.

* RTE cereal must be fortified and must list a whole grain as the primary ingredient.  They qualify on the basis of a 28 gram serving or based on meeting the volumes prescribed in the revised Exhibit A, Group I.  Ounce equivalencies for other cereal items, such as brown rice and pasta,  are defined as ½ cup cooked volume or must be determined on an the dry basis of 28 grams dry = 1.0 oz eq.    

Additional Notes:

  • Grain is creditable in increments of 0.25 grams, and rounded down.  
  • Non-creditable grains ingredients are only allowed at levels of less than two percent.
  • CN labeling does not apply to foods that only credit toward the grains requirement.  CN labeled items must contain at least 0.5 oz visible meat or meat alternate.  If such a product contains a grain contribution of 0.25 oz equivalent or more, this may also be declared on the CN label.
  • References for CN labeling: