Special Milk Program

The Special Milk Program offers federal reimbursements for each half-pint of milk served to a child in a participating outlet, which generally is any school or facility caring for children that does not participate in other federally subsidized meal programs. There is an exception from this limitation for kindergarten children in split session programs. The program is permanently authorized under the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 (P.L. 89-642, as amended; 42 U.S.C. 1771 et seq.).

Schools may offer free milk to children meeting free lunch income requirements, if they choose, and this milk is reimbursed at full cost. Otherwise, children buy so-called paid milk, which is subsidized at a legislatively set rate for each half-pint served. This program is administered by the Food and Nutrition Service, and funded by annual agricultural appropriations.