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Clarification of Allowable Flexibilities for Child Nutrition Programs Experiencing Milk Supply Shortages

FNS Document #
SP 01-2024, CACFP 01-2024, SFSP 01-2024
Resource type
Policy Memos
Resource Materials
PDF Icon Policy Memo (153.41 KB)
DATE:October 25, 2023
SUBJECT:Clarification of Allowable Flexibilities for Child Nutrition Programs Experiencing Milk Supply Shortages
TO:Regional Directors
Child Nutrition Programs
All Regions
State Directors
Child Nutrition Programs
All States

USDA's Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is aware that schools in multiple states are experiencing milk supply chain challenges related to packaging issues. This memorandum provides state agencies with information about existing authority related to schools and other child nutrition program (program) operators experiencing inadequate milk supply. FNS encourages state agencies to use this authority when needed to support program operators impacted by the current milk packaging challenges.

Under current program regulations found at 7 CFR 210.10(d)(2), 220.8(d), 225.16(f)(6), and 226.20(e)(1), state agencies may allow program operators experiencing milk supply shortages to serve meals during an emergency period with an alternate form of fluid milk or without fluid milk. Although program operators are expected to meet the fluid milk requirements to the greatest extent possible, supply chain disruptions, including disruptions that limit milk variety or affect serving size, would be considered a temporary emergency condition for purposes of this flexibility. Because this is an existing regulatory flexibility, a waiver is not required for state agencies to exercise this authority. Additionally, state agencies are reminded that administrative reviews should take into account any waivers or flexibilities that have been provided to program operators.

FNS appreciates the exceptional efforts of state agencies and program operators working to meet the nutritional needs of children during this time. State agencies are reminded to distribute this memorandum to program operators. State agencies with additional questions about this authority or reviews of program operators using this regulatory flexibility should contact the appropriate FNS regional office.

Tina Namian
School Meals Policy Division

Page updated: November 01, 2023