Civil Rights

In the operation of the Child Nutrition Programs, no individual in the United States shall solely by reason of his or her race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability, be excluded from the participation in, denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.


Filing a Complaint

Any person alleging discrimination has a right to file a complaint within 180 days of the alleged discriminatory action. To file a complaint of discrimination, write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice) or (202) 720-6382 (TTY). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.”


Civil Rights Compliance

State agencies and child nutrition sponsoring agencies shall comply with the
requirements of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; American with Disabilities Act (ADA); Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972; Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; and the Age Discrimination Act of 1975.


Nondiscrimination Policy Statement

All USDA Food and Nutrition Programs should be implementing the revised nondiscrimination statement. It is meant to serve participants and applicants in the event they feel that they have been discriminated against. The statement also implies the public can expect to be treated fairly regardless of circumstances. Previously, there was one statement that was required on all publications. Now, the Office of Civil Rights has issued two statements, a long and short nondiscrimination policy.

The long statement reads as follows:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture prohibits discrimination against its customers, employees, and applicants for employment on the bases of race, color, national origin, age, disability, sex, gender identity, religion, reprisal, and where applicable, political beliefs, marital status, familial or parental status, sexual orientation, or all or part of an individual’s income is derived from any public assistance program, or protected genetic information in employment or in any program or activity conducted or funded by the Department. (Not all prohibited bases will apply to all programs and/or employment activities.)

If you wish to file a Civil Rights program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, found online at, or at any USDA office, or call (866)632-9992 to request the form. You may also write a letter containing all of the information requested in the form. Send your completed complaint form or letter to us by mail at U.S. Department of Agriculture, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, by fax (202) 690-7442 or email at

Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339; or (800) 845-6136 (Spanish).

USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

 The short statement reads as follows:

“USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.”

The shorter statement may be used if the material is too small to permit the long statement. However, the print size should be no smaller than the text of the document. Examples include: letters, memos, notices, menus, internet, public service announcements, television spots, or advertisements, recruitment and outreach correspondence.

 The Spanish statement reads as follows:

Explica qué hacer si cree que lo han tratado de manera injusta. “De conformidad con el derecho federal y con la política del Departamento de Agricultura de EE.UU., se prohíbe a esta institución discriminar por motivos de raza, color, nacionalidad de origen, sexo, edad, o discapacidad. Para presentar una queja por discriminación, escriba a USDA, Director, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410, o llame gratuitamente al (866) 632-9992 (voz). Las personas con impedimentos de audición o discapacidades del habla se pueden comunicar con el USDA por medio del servicio de retransmisión federal (Federal Relay Service) al (800) 877-8339 o al (800) 845-6136 (en español). El USDA es un proveedor y empleador que ofrece igualdad de oportunidades para todos”.

Civil Rights Requirements for Child Nutrition Sponsors

  • To ensure all printed materials produced by sponsor for public information, public education, or public distribution includes the nondiscrimination policy statement.Display the nondiscrimination poster “.And Justice For All” in a prominent place in appropriate offices and facilities dispensing program benefits to participants or potential participants.
  • Each sponsor participating in the Child Nutrition programs completes a Civil Rights compliance form.
  • Materials produced by sponsors must be provided in alternative means upon request.
  • Students with special needs must be accommodated.


Racial and Ethnic Categories

The race and ethnic categories for data collection and reporting have been changed to the following:

Black or African American A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa. Terms such as “Haitian” or “Negro” can be used in addition to ‘Black or African American.’

Asian A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent, including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam.

American Indian or Alaskan Native A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America (including Central America), and who maintains tribal affiliation or community attachment.

Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands.

White A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa.

Hispanic or Latino A person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race. The term “Spanish origin” can be used in addition to “Hispanic or Latino.”