The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets and the New York State Department of Education have reiterated their actions and outreach to support New York’s dairy industry and schools during the nationwide shortage of packaging paperboard. The supply chain disruption has created a challenge for school milk packaging across the US as well as other institutions. The Departments have been in contact with the State’s dairy processors and membership organizations to help develop short-term solutions for milk delivery and issued guidance to School Food Authorities (SFAs) while the State continues to gather information on the shortage.
NYS AGM is working to ensure New York dairy farmers have a market for their milk and so is actively sharing information with the State’s milk processors to find alternative solutions to fill the demand for the packaging paperboard on a temporary, as-needed basis. NYS AGM is also coordinating with the International Dairy Foods Association, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Northeast Dairy Foods Association to find additional packaging that may be available and ways to escalate the approval of alternative packaging. This will help ensure students are still receiving the nutrition they need through milk during their school day.
To assist the School Food Authorities (SFA) that are not able to obtain milk in half pints for their school meals programs during this time, the NYSED has released temporary guidance. Although schools are expected to meet the fluid milk requirements to the greatest extent possible, the disruptions that limit milk variety or affect serving size are currently considered a temporary emergency condition. Guidance by NYSED was sent to the School Food Service Directors and Managers earlier this week, outlining steps that can be taken regarding the Child Nutrition Program Administration:
SFAs are allowed to serve and claim meals during the emergency period by:
- pouring milk from larger containers into individual cups,
- offering one type of milk instead of a variety,
- offering an alternate form of fluid milk such as low-fat or fat-free lactose-free milk or reduced-lactose fluid milk, or
- as a last resort, not offer fluid milk altogether.
The Department also advised that juice cannot be offered in place of the milk component. SFAs must still adhere to the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program meal requirement that no more than half of the fruit or vegetable offerings may be in the form of juice.