A critical shortage of small half-pint milk cartons, a cafeteria staple in schools across the nation, is now hitting districts like Philadelphia. This scarcity is a result of supply chain disruptions affecting the production of these cardboard containers.

The School District of Philadelphia is bracing for the repercussions, with carton manufacturers limiting production to half-pint sizes for 1% milk and fat-free chocolate milk only, omitting options like strawberry milk. This limitation is attributed to the packaging shortage.

In Pennsylvania, schools are obligated to serve milk, and Philadelphia’s district distributes a staggering 314,000 flavored and unflavored milk cartons to schools weekly. District officials are collaborating with entities like the American Dairy Association and the state to address this issue should it persist, recognizing that this problem could impact schools nationwide.

Meanwhile, the USDA is relaxing some regulations mandating milk service in schools.