Two West Alabama school districts promise no gap in milk challenge

Published: Aug. 26, 2022 at 3:47 PM CDT
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - Many of you have heard about the coming milk shortage for Alabama public schools. Borden recently announced that it’s shuttling its milk plant in Dothan and Hattiesburg, Mississippi, a move that left many school districts and the state scrambling for an alternative milk route.

The Tuscaloosa City and County districts say there will be no gaps by the time Borden delivers its last load of milk on September 30.

The Tuscaloosa City School district has around 11,000 students in 21 schools. Van Nichols says they’re testing out an alternative brand of milk and is confident there won’t be an issue come October 1.

“No, we got several plans. A lot of our vendors are helping us fill in gaps. One of them is sending us shelf milk next week, we’re going to try that out test it on some kids and see how that works,” said Tuscaloosa City School District Child Nutrition Program Director Van Nichols.

It’s a similar story with the county school district. Terri Brewer says they’re on top of it and no child will be without the healthy drink. The Tuscaloosa County School District is much larger, with 19,000 students across 35 schools.

“Our child nutrition department has lined up additional suppliers to pick up the load after that. The packaging may look different but we have a plan for there not to be a gap in the milk shortage,” said Terri Brewer, spokeswoman for the Tuscaloosa County School District.

Borden Milk provided milk to more than 400,000 students per week in Alabama, but that’s about to change. Still, the head of the AG Commission said there’s no need to panic.

“We have very viable alternatives, shelf milk that that actually goes through pasteurization. It’s able to be not refrigerated until it’s opened and stay on the shelf for up to a year,” said Alabama Agriculture Commissioner Rick Pate.

A lot of children drink a lot of milk. In Tuscaloosa City Schools alone, the school district went through 35,000 half-pint cartons of milk per week.

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