Civil Rights Compliance


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 idividual's income is derived from any public assistance program, or protected genetic information in employment or 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, complete 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 longer statement is preferred on posters, pamphlets, application, and rights and responsibility material. It should appear in a prominent place in the same size text as the rest of the document and should be available in other languages.

The short statement reads as follows:

"This institution is an equal opportunity provider."

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.

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 participant.
* 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