Menus and Crediting

Processed Meats: Some Things to Know

Many processed meats contain large amounts of binders, extenders, and byproducts. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Crediting Handbook for the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and Food Buying Guide indicate that any processed meat that contains meat or poultry by-products, cereals, binders or extenders cannot be credited ounce for ounce toward the meat/meat alternate component. Therefore, the composition of these processed meats must be known in order to properly credit the meat/meat alternate portion. Most often a Child Nutrition (CN) label or product formulation statement signed by an official of the manufacturer is necessary to verify the amount of meat in a processed meat product. The following guidelines apply to the CACFP:

Creditable when free of byproducts, cereals, binders, or extenders and/or when CN-labeled:

• Hot dogs / frankfurters

• Bologna

• Luncheon meats (chicken, turkey, beef, and pork)

• Vienna sausage

Need a CN label or product formulation statement to credit toward the meat/meat alternate:

• Meat sticks / summer sausage

• Pepperoni

• Polish sausage

• Salami

• Liverwurst

When the binder/extender is an alternate protein product*, it may be credited along with the meat portion of the product. All other binders and extenders may not count as meat/meat alternates.

Examples of some binders and extenders include:

Starchy vegetable flour

Dried milk



Starch (modified food and vegetable)


*Alternate protein products that may credit as meat:

Soy flour

Soy protein concentrate

Isolated soy protein

Whey protein concentrates

Isolated whey protein


All meat products without binders or extenders may be fully credited based on weight. Try to purchase products with a CN label or request information about the product from the manufacturer to ascertain the quantity by weight for each of the following: meat, alternate protein, and extenders/binders.