Problem at dairy plant leaves Beaufort Co. students without federally mandated milk

Beaufort County School District resumed classes Monday after Hurricane Dorian with few issues — but this Friday, students may have to forgo milk with their cafeteria lunches because of a shortage.

Adrienne Chance, the senior director of corporate communications for Borden Dairy, said the cause of the shortage was a Dominion Energy power surge at the company’s North Charleston plant Tuesday morning.

The surge damaged lighting and equipment at the plant, which supplies the district with the milk cartons it’s federally mandated to provide students at lunchtime.

Milk deliveries to the school will begin at noon Friday, and the issue should be fixed by Monday, school district spokesman Jim Foster said on Thursday afternoon.

In the meantime, the district has received a waiver from the Department of Education to serve water and fruit juice at affected schools on Friday, Foster said, and is working with food supplier Sodexo to transport milk between district schools as needed.

Foster said schools have been notified of the issue to inform parents.

The district receives about 16,000 cartons of 1 percent milk fat regular, chocolate and strawberry milk from the dairy per day, and 3 million per year, according to Chance.

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Rachel Jones covers education for the Island Packet and the Beaufort Gazette. She attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and has worked for the Daily Tar Heel and Charlotte Observer. Rachel grew up in Ayden, NC, surrounded by teachers.