A widespread paper milk carton shortage is affecting school cafeterias across the country the country, as school districts have begun to send messages to their families and communities about how they are either currently managing or preparing to navigate serving milk without half-pint cartons. Schools are required by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to offer milk at all school breakfasts, lunches, or suppers served to students.
According to K-12 Dive, in an October 25, 2023 memo to child nutrition directors, the USDA acknowledged that schools in multiple states are dealing with milk supply chain challenges specifically due to packaging issues. As a result, the USDA said state agencies may allow schools impacted by milk supply shortages to serve meals without milk or with an alternative form of milk during this emergency period.
In Pennsylvania, Galliker’s Dairy Company is working with schools to find solutions and packaging alternatives, The company serves more than 1.3 million school meal containers per week and has established a School Milk Helpline to assist schools working with the milk producer.
For more from K-12 Dive, click here.