Supply chain challenges continue to hit school cafeterias

Supply chain issues are hitting school cafeterias.

Both Stillwater Schools and South Washington County Schools have notified parents they are only getting 50% of their regular, daily milk orders. Both districts are offering their limited milk supply to elementary school students while asking middle school and high school students to bring reusable water bottles to school instead.

"It’s not a milk problem, it’s a container problem. It was kind of another gut punch," said Wendy Peterson, director of nutrition services at South Washington County Schools.

She says they’ve been told the shortage is indefinite, and it’s just the latest in a long list of shortages and substitutions school districts have had to deal with all year long.

"The most popular items kids love, they are not manufacturing them: orange chicken, pizza, string cheese, juice. It affects every aspect of what we do," she said.

A new survey by the School Nutrition Association ranks the top challenges for school meal programs. Unavailable menu items are a significant challenge for 85% of schools.

Shortages like this come at a time when more school lunches than ever are being served after the federal government has made them free for everybody until the end of the school year.