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USA 08.02.2024

Congressman Harder Raises Concerns Over Looming Milk Carton Shortage Impacting Schools and Dairy Farmers

Source: The DairyNews
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Representative Josh Harder (CA-9) has sounded the alarm on a potential milk carton shortage that could significantly impact school lunch programs and the local dairy industry.
Congressman Harder Raises Concerns Over Looming Milk Carton Shortage Impacting Schools and Dairy Farmers
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Milk is a crucial commodity in San Joaquin County, generating over $626 million in 2022, with California contributing 20% of the nation's milk supply. Harder has urged the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to address the issue promptly to prevent disruptions in delivering milk to schools, especially as milk is a primary source of protein, calcium, and Vitamin D for children, mandated by the National School Lunch Program (NSLP).

In a letter to Secretary Vilsack, Congressman Harder, along with other California representatives, highlighted the urgent need for the USDA's attention to the half-pint milk carton supply shortages reported by Pactiv Evergreen Inc. The letter emphasizes California's significance as the leading milk-producing state and the potential impact on the National School Lunch Program's fluid milk requirements.

The shortage has raised concerns about potential fines, breaches of contract, and milk substitutions, affecting dairy manufacturers and farmers across the country. The letter requests transparency on the projected duration of the issue and urges swift action to address the supply chain challenges, ensuring fair treatment for all affected customers of Pactiv Evergreen Inc.

As the nation grapples with supply chain disruptions, particularly in the dairy industry, Congressman Harder and his colleagues stress the importance of finding a timely and effective solution to mitigate economic and health impacts on children relying on the National School Lunch Program.

This initiative aligns with Representative Harder's ongoing efforts to secure access to nutritious milk for families and children.
Aaron Smith
Aaron Smith
Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of California
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February 2024
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