F-1610 Overview

Revision 21-0; Effective January 15, 2021

Providers establish the types and frequency of meals served based on local needs and characteristics including demographics and geography. Meals must meet the requirements of the Older Americans Act and HHSC policy.

F-1620 Meal Types

Revision 21-0; Effective January 15, 2021

Providers may deliver or serve hot, chilled, frozen, dried, shelf-stable, emergency meals or a combination of meal types. Requirements for the different types of meals are as follows:

  • Hot Meals: Food items are required to be held at temperatures at or above 135 degrees Fahrenheit until served or packaged for delivery. May include chilled items, fresh fruit, crackers or bread.
  • Chilled Meals: Food items are required to be held at refrigerated temperatures at or below 41 degrees Fahrenheit until served, packaged for delivery or cooked. They are intended to be consumed on a day other than the day the meals are delivered. Chilled meals may include Modified Atmosphere Packaging or Reduced Oxygen Packaging chilled meals.
  • Frozen Meals: Food items must remain in a solid frozen state until delivered. Congregate sites may also use frozen meals at congregate sites in rural areas where participation is low and other food service options are not possible.  Heated and served daily at the congregate meal site, such meals are reported as hot meals.
  • Shelf-stable Meals: Food items do not need refrigeration and are non-perishable. Shelf-stable meals are not required by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to have a safe handling statement, cooking directions or a “keep refrigerated” statement.
  • Emergency Meals: Food items are provided on a temporary basis when a regular meal service is not possible. Each meal provider maintains written policy to define when an emergency exists. Emergency meals generally consist of shelf-stable items that do not require refrigeration and can be consumed at room temperature if necessary due to power outages. Defined as “Health Maintenance” other emergency meals may be funded through various sources such as Title III-B and do not need to comply with the meal requirements. Meals are not eligible for Nutrition Services Incentive Program (NSIP) cash when they do not meet the nutrition guidelines

F-1630 General Meal Service and Delivery Requirements

Revision 21-0; Effective January 15, 2021

Meal providers must:

  • serve or deliver only meals that are safe and sanitary;
  • establish regularly scheduled time of day to serve or deliver meals to maximize participation;
  • for meals delivered outside the established schedule, deliver meals on the day of the week and at a time agreed upon by the provider and person receiving the meal;
  • deliver HDMs directly to the eligible person or the person’s caregiver at the person’s home;
  • not leave meals unattended at the home of the person receiving HDMs;
  • follow-up on the same day with a person receiving HDMs who was not available to receive a meal when a meal delivery was attempted;
  • ensure a significant change in a person’s physical or mental condition or environment is reported to the provider by people delivering meals;
  • act on the same day the person delivering the meals reports the change
  • prepare and keep meals at the temperatures required by Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), Retail Food rules (25 Texas Administrative Code, Subchapter C, Food) until serving or packaging for delivery; and
  • manage all aspects of nutrition programs in compliance with DSHS, Retail Food rules and Food and Drug rules, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), U.S. Food & Drug Administration, Food Code and USDA, Dietary Guidelines.

F-1640 Nutrition Requirements

Revision 21-0; Effective January 15, 2021

All hot, frozen, chilled, and shelf-stable meals must meet the nutrition requirements of the OAA.

Include the guidelines in all requests for proposals, bids, contracts, and open solicitations for meals and ensure that all meals served meet the requirements in this section

The nutrition program guidelines align with the most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs) and dietary reference intakes (DRIs) to support more fruit, vegetable, and whole grains consumption, reduce the sodium content of the meals substantially over time, and control fat and calorie levels. The established guidelines specifically address prevalent disease conditions for the aging population.

Providers must serve meals that:

  • comply with the most recent DGA, published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Secretary and the Secretary of Agriculture;
  • provide:
    • a minimum of 33-1⁄3 percent of the DRI established by the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, if the program provides one meal per day;
    • a minimum of 66-2⁄3 percent of the allowances if the program provides two meals per day; and
    • 100 percent of the allowances if the program provides three meals per day; and
  • meet any special dietary needs of people participating in the program, to the maximum extent practicable.

F-1650 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA)

Revision 21-0; Effective January 15, 2021

DHHS and the USDA publish the DGA jointly every five years. The DGA provides authoritative advice about how good dietary habits can promote health and reduce risk for major chronic diseases. The guidelines serve as the basis for federal food and nutrition education programs and encourage people to consume more healthy foods with emphasis on certain food groups. The DGA is available at www.dietaryguidelines.gov.

F-1660 Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI)

Revision 21-0; Effective January 15, 2021

DRI is a system of nutrition recommendations from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The DRI system broadened the existing guidelines known as Recommended Dietary Allowances. The current DRI recommendation is composed of four categories:

  • Estimated Average Requirements (EAR);
  • Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA);
  • Adequate Intake (AI); and
  • Tolerable Upper Intake Levels (UL).

F-1670 Nutrient Needs of Older Adults

Revision 21-0; Effective January 15, 2021

In addition to the Target Nutrient Requirements provided in this policy, menus and meals should include rich sources of vitamins B6, B12, E, folate, magnesium and zinc. Include foods fortified with vitamin D in the meals when possible through sources such as milk products or juice fortified with vitamin D. In addition to the meal, nutrition education should reinforce the message that diets for older adults should include nutrient dense foods.

Related Policy

Target Nutrient Requirements Computer Analysis of Nutrients, Appendix III

F-1680 Standardized Recipes

Revision 21-0; Effective January 15, 2021

Meal providers must use standardized recipes in the planning and preparation of menu items. This ensures menu items include nutrients documented by the Target Nutrient Requirements Computer Analysis of Nutrients or the Texas Model for Menu Planning. Food production using standardized recipes adjusted to yield the number of servings needed gives consistency in quality and documented nutrient content of food prepared.

Related Policy

Target Nutrient Requirements Computer Analysis of Nutrients, Appendix III
Texas Model for Menu Planning, Appendix IV