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National milk carton shortage hits local schools: Seneca Falls says water, cheese stick will be offered as alternative

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  • Staff Report 

Schools are revising their meal plans due to a significant shortage of half-pint milk cartons affecting Upstate Farms, the primary supplier to many school districts. The scarcity of appropriate packaging means that the usual milk servings are not currently available for students, despite the essential role milk plays in supporting childhood development and immune health.


The Seneca Falls Central School District is among those improvising, replacing milk with bottled water and a cheese stick to compensate for the missing nutritional value typically provided by milk. While liquid milk is preferred, the district’s Medical Director from Finger Lakes Health has approved this interim solution. Additionally, schools are considering the option of serving bulk milk poured into cups, a more demanding approach requiring adjustments in storage and labor.

Upstate Farms has acknowledged the vital importance of milk in school diets, emphasizing its commitment to resolving the shortage as soon as possible, with improvements expected by next year. Meanwhile, students will receive cups of milk at breakfast where needed, and alternative provisions for lunch, with parents encouraged to stay informed via school updates.