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Milk Requirement-Child Nutrition Programs

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PDF Icon FNS Instruction (142.96 KB)

This Instruction clarifies which types of milk may be used to fulfill the milk component requirement of the child nutrition programs. The Instruction has four sections: a) The minimum standards which apply to all child nutrition programs; b) Alternative types of milk; c) Breastmilk for children who are breastfeeding; and d) Unavailability of milk.

(a)          Minimum Standards for All Child Nutrition Programs

Any pasteurized type of unflavored or flavored milk-whole, lowfat, skim, or cultured buttermilk-may be used to meet the milk component of all child nutrition programs providing it meets the following stipulations:

(1)         It must meet state and local standards for fluid milk;

(2)         It must be served in at least the quantity required for the applicable age or grade in the appropriate child nutrition program regulations; and

(3)        All milk should contain vitamins A and D. Lowfat and skim milk are required to be fortified with vitamin A at levels specified by the Food and Drug Administration; added vitamin D must also meet Food and Drug Administration specifications.

To clarify the milk standards in a given area or state, contact the State Department of Agriculture, State Health Department, or the State Milk Commissioner, as appropriate.

(b)        Alternative Types of Milk

In  addition  to  the  types  of  milk  mentioned  above  (whole,  skim,  lowfat,  and  buttermilk),  the  following may  be  served  if  they  meet  state  and  local  standards  for  fluid  milk  and  comply  with  any  appropriate special requirements:

Milkshakes.   Milkshakes may be used to meet the milk component of lunches, suppers, and the supplemental food served in the Child Nutrition Programs if those milkshakes contain the minimum required quantity of fluid milk per serving appropriate for the age or grade group being served.

Those made from commercial milkshake mixes may be used if State and local officials define the mix as fluid milk in the area where served.

Ultra High Temperature (UHT) Milk. UHT Milk is a fluid milk which is pasteurized by heating the milk to a minimum temperature of 280° Fahrenheit for 2-3 seconds. This temperature destroys all the pathogenic and spoilage microorganisms with the exception of a few spores that would remain dormant under normal conditions. As a result of this heat treatment, the product can be stored without refrigeration for 3-12 months.

Acidified Milk. Acidified milk is a fluid milk produced by souring fluid whole, lowfat, or skim milk with an acidifying agent. Examples of acidified milk are "acidified kefir milk" and "acidified acidophilus milk."

Cultured Milk. Cultured milk is a fluid milk produced by adding selected microorganisms to fluid whole, lowfat, or skim milk under controlled conditions to produce a product with specific flavor and/or consistency. Examples of cultured milk are "cultured buttermilk," "cultured kefir milk," and "cultured acidophilus milk."

Lactose Reduced Milk. Lactose reduced milk is a fluid milk modified by the addition of lactase enzymes from a yeast source. The lactose content of this milk differs from that of unmodified lowfat milk in that the disaccharide lactose is split into the monosaccharides, glucose and galactose. People who cannot digest the lactose in milk may benefit from a lactose reduced lowfat milk.

(c) Breastmilk for Children Who are Breastfeeding

In addition to the types of milk mentioned above, breastmilk may be served in place of fluid milk in the child nutrition meal programs. Breastmilk may be served at meals, snacks, or other appropriate times throughout the day. Breastmilk should be properly identified and labeled with the child's name and the date that the milk was collected. Breastmilk identified for a particular child should only be served to that child. Breastmilk should be stored and handled according to applicable federal and state guidance.

(d) Unavailability of Milk

In Alaska, Hawaii, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, and the Virgin Islands, if a sufficient supply of types of fluid milk as described in this Instruction cannot be obtained, "milk" shall include reconstituted or recombined milk.

Page updated: March 31, 2021

The contents of this guidance document do not have the force and effect of law and are not meant to bind the public in any way. This document is intended only to provide clarity to the public regarding existing requirements under the law or agency policies.