Your Stories Q&A: Are schools still facing a milk carton shortage?

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — You ask, we answer!

A viewer, named Sheri, wrote the Your Stories Team: — Do you have an update on the milk carton shortage that made headlines last fall?

In late October/early November, schools across the nation were considering alternative options to provide students milk due to a shortage of the half-pint cartons.

To work around the this, schools were preparing to order gallons of milk and pour into cups.

Are schools still facing a shortage?

The Your Stories Team reached out to several schools, companies and agencies to get an update.

Upstate Niagara Cooperative out of Buffalo, provides milk to at least 50 districts in the New York. In November, they told NewsChannel 9 that The Syracuse City School District is a client.

In a brief email to the YS Team, Upstate Niagara Cooperative said it’s still able to provide half-pint milk cartons to school, though assortment is limited.

The Cooperative said it continues to work with other potential vendors to, “ramp up capabilities as quickly as possible, to get back to normal.”

The Syracuse City School District said it’s not having an issue getting milk.

“We have not been impacted by the shortage at any of our locations. We have been told the national issue will be resolved by February,” a district spokesperson said in an email to the YS Team.

According to the New York State Education Department, the only issue it’s hearing about is in New York City.

“The NYC Department of Education has reported that they are unable to receive fat-free milk, however, they are still receiving low-fat milk,” said a NYSED spokesperson.

The USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service sent us the following statement:

While waiver requests due to the milk carton shortage are slowing down, FNS continues to assist school districts that are still experiencing milk supply chain challenges related to packaging issues. Program operators are expected to meet the fluid milk requirements to the greatest extent possible, but 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. USDA strongly encourages schools to utilize options to continue milk service, such as providing milk in cups.

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