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Commodity Supplemental Food Program: Guidance on Temporary Shortage of Ultra-High Temperature Fluid Milk

Publication Date
EO Guidance Document #
Resource type
Policy Memos
Guidance Documents
Resource Materials
DATE: March 19, 2021
SUBJECT: Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP): Guidance on Temporary Shortage of Ultra-High Temperature Fluid Milk
TO: Regional Directors
Special Nutrition Programs
State Directors
CSFP State Agencies

This memorandum is in regards to a temporary shortage of ultra-high temperature (UHT) fluid milk in the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP). Limited vendor capacities of UHT milk due to an increase in demand in the commercial market has led to delayed loads and purchasing shortfalls for the USDA Foods programs. The disruption is impacting both direct deliveries of UHT milk and inventories at the National Multi-Food Warehouses.

In accordance with the CSFP Maximum Monthly Distribution Rates, states and local agencies can fulfill the monthly milk food package requirement by distributing either:

  1. two UHT milks, or
  2. one UHT milk and one instant nonfat dry milk.

In light of the current shortage, FNS is temporarily limiting milk category distribution to only option B. Effective immediately, all CSFP state and local agencies must distribute one milk and one instant nonfat dry milk and may not distribute two UHT milks. FNS will lift this limitation once UHT vendor capacity returns to normal levels.

To minimize program burden, any food packages that have already been pre-packed with two UHT milks per option A may be distributed to CSFP participants without modification. However, food packages packed after the issuance of this memorandum must be packed according to option B.

Even with this adjustment, the present shortfall may cause some state agencies to have insufficient inventories to provide all participants with the full quantity of milk. Accordingly, FNS will allow affected state agencies to issue CSFP food packages with less than the prescribed quantity of UHT milk; however, state agencies must obtain prior FNS approval to exercise this option1. States should closely monitor their UHT milk inventories so they can contact FNS regional offices as soon as they foresee an issue with making full food packages. FNS regional offices must in turn notify the FNS national office to obtain approval for states to issue modified food packages.

We appreciate your understanding of this issue and your work to ensure CSFP participants continue to receive needed food assistance during this time. We also request that local agencies communicate to clients that USDA is working with industry to return the full amount of UHT milk to their food packages as soon as possible. We will be sure to keep you apprised as we receive new information on the availability of UHT milk.

Laura Castro
Food Distribution Division

1 In accordance with FNS Instruction 835-1, Revision 2, “Authorized Supplemental Foods and Distribution Rates of Foods for CSFP”, items in the food package can be impacted by changing agricultural market conditions and some of the individual USDA Foods listed may be periodically unavailable. State tailoring of the CSFP food package to issue quantities of USDA Foods that are below the recommended (maximum) rates is permitted in very limited circumstances with prior FNS approval.

Page updated: December 21, 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.