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The Special Milk Program (SMP) provides milk to children in schools and non-profit child care institutions that do not participate in other Federal child nutrition meal service programs. The program reimburses institutions for the milk they serve.

USDA Special Milk Program Fact Sheet

Schools in the National School Lunch or School Breakfast Programs may also participate in the SMP to provide milk to children in half-day pre-kindergarten and kindergarten programs where children do not have access to the school meal programs.

What is involved in operating the Special Milk Program?

The milk program must be open to all enrolled children. Milk may be either non-pricing or pricing. Non-pricing refers to a program which does not sell milk to children. All children are offered the same milk at no separate charge. Pricing program refers to a program which sells milk to children. All children are offered the same milk at the same charge.

What records are required?

The records that must be kept are:

  • The number of half-pints of milk served each day by site and by category (free milk and purchased milk).
  • Applications submitted by the families for free milk (if electing to provide a free milk program)
  • Records of income, expenditures and contributions received.

All records must be retained for a period of three years after the end of the fiscal year to which they pertain.

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How Do We Get Reimbursed?

The Special Milk Program is operated on a reimbursement basis, with agencies reimbursed based on the number of half-pints of milk served. The reimbursement shall not exceed the cost of milk to the institution. The rate of reimbursement for milk purchased and served free to needy children in pricing programs shall be the average cost of a half-pint of milk.

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