WASHINGTON, May 8, 2020 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs, Greg Ibach today announced USDA will waive certain documentation requirements in the Commodity Specifications for Fluid Milk and Milk Products Eligible for the Milk Donation Reimbursement Program, allowing American dairy processors to donate more milk for distribution to low-income individuals. These milk donations reduce food waste and provide nutrition assistance to those in need. Information on these changes is available in the Commodity Specifications document at www.ams.usda.gov/mdrp.
“Under the leadership of President Trump and Agriculture Secretary Perdue, USDA is committed to being a strong partner to American agricultural producers and processors who together create the strongest food supply in the world,” said Under Secretary Ibach. “During these unprecedented times, USDA will continue to support changes in how we do business so that America’s abundant food supply makes it into the hands of the American people.”
In addition, to ensure eligible dairy processors have the opportunity to participate, USDA has extended the application period through Oct. 30, 2020, for the Milk Donation Reimbursement Program for Fiscal Years 2019 and 2020. The previous deadline for Fiscal Year 2019 applications was May 1, 2020. Once an application is approved, participants will be able to file their reimbursement claims for Fiscal Year 2019 and 2020 donations until Dec. 31, 2020.
USDA is also highlighting allowances in the Commodity Specifications for fluid milk processors to make donations with a shelf life of at least 12 days from the delivery date, or the maximum days allowed by local or state regulation upon delivery, whichever is less. The specifications already provide for flexibility for fluid milk processors to donate milk with a shelf life of less than 12 days, if permitted by their state.
Under the program, eligible dairy organizations partner with non-profit organizations to distribute food to low-income individuals. Those partnerships may apply for and receive limited reimbursements to cover expenses related to certain fluid milk product donations.
Details about program eligibility and participation are available at www.ams.usda.gov/mdrp. Interested partnerships must apply for Fiscal Year 2019 and Fiscal Year 2020 program participation by submitting a completed Milk Donation and Distribution Plan, with an estimated donation amount for each fiscal year, by the Oct. 30, 2020, deadline.
USDA has received numerous requests to expand the program to include additional manufacturing dairy products. The program is only authorized to reimburse for donated fluid milk products, and therefore the Department does not have the regulatory flexibility to expand the program to manufactured dairy products, such as cheese and yogurt.
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