New Health Permit Regulations for Meal Sites: What to Know

Photo: " Playground " by dadblunders is licensed under  CC BY 2.0

Photo: "Playground" by dadblunders is licensed under CC BY 2.0

After-school meal programs help ensure kids have adequate energy for homework and active play—and that they won’t go to bed hungry. 

Over the past year, several of our partner organizations struggled to adjust to new health permit regulations and fees, and it has been a barrier to providing meals for kids who need them. 

As we enter 2017, here’s what you need to know to comply with new permitting policies from California’s Department of Education.

  1. Make sure your permits are up-to-date
    To update your health/sanitation and fire/building safety permits, your organization must submit a current permit or a satisfactory report from a recent inspection.
  2. Stay tuned for updated program guidelines
    The California Department of Education is creating a Management Bulletin for program sponsors and health departments to properly administer at-risk meal programs.
  3. You may have to adjust the types of meals you serve  
    Many of our partners have been required to switch to serving pre-packaged, nonperishable foods if they don’t have a commercial-style kitchen to serve hot foods.
  4. Take another look at your budget
    Along with updated regulations come annual permit fees of $200/permit and inspection fees of $284/visit, which place an additional financial burden on anti-hunger organizations. Be sure to factor these new fees into your 2017 budget.

These new changes are part of the 2010 Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, which aims to simplify the transition for providers from summer food service programs to afterschool meals while school is in session. Still, the financial burden from the new permitting and inspection process can make it more difficult for service providers to accomplish their purpose – offering nutritious meals for children at risk of hunger.

Click here for more information to make sure your organization is in compliance with these updated policies, or contact Robin McNulty at or 619-501-7917.