Allowable Flexibilities for Milk Supply Shortages
The California Department of Education (CDE) Nutrition Services Division (NSD) is aware that school nutrition program operators are experiencing milk supply chain challenges related to packaging issues. The CDE NSD recognizes that unanticipated emergency conditions, including supply chain disruptions, may temporarily prevent program operators from offering fluid milk as required by the program’s meal pattern. This announcement provides operators with information about existing flexibilities related to inadequate milk supply issues, strategies for navigating the disruption, and a method of notifying the CDE of your need to utilize the fluid milk flexibilities.
Existing Fluid Milk Supply Flexibilities
On October 25, 2023, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued Policy Memorandum SP 01–2024, CACFP 01–2024, SFSP 01–2024: Clarification of Allowable Flexibilities for Child Nutrition Programs Experiencing Milk Supply Shortages.
This policy memo reminds program operators that 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.
Strategies for Navigating Fluid Milk Supply Disruption
- Utilize procurement strategies and/or alternate fluid milk vendors. See the USDA’s School Meal Supply Chain Issues During School Year 2022-23 resource and the CDE’s Procurement in School Nutrition Programs web page for more information.
- Provide fluid milk via bulk milk dispensers. See The LunchBox’s Bulk Milk web page for information and benefits of bulk milk service.
- Request less variety and streamline your product list. Ensure a minimum of two milk types are available to all students at each meal. One milk type must be unflavored at each meal.
- Provide fluid milk via lesser used forms such as ultra-high temperature shelf-stable milk.
- Submit online to CDE a meal pattern waiver during natural disaster or other unanticipated school closure if you are experiencing a shortage of fluid milk due to supply chain disruptions and require the use of the allowable flexibilities to serve reimbursable meals with an alternate form of fluid milk or without fluid milk
If you have questions regarding this subject, please contact the School Nutrition Programs inbox at SNPinfo@cde.ca.gov for assistance.