The Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries (ADAI) responded to the upcoming closure of Borden Dairy production in Dothan and suggested Alabama schools could potentially be turning to milk that doesn't require refrigeration. 

Borden Dairy processes and distributes various kinds of milk, cream, buttermilk, juices, teas and flavored drinks. In Dothan, the production facility was responsible for packaging milk cartons for schools. It will close alongside a similar facility in Hattiesburg, Miss., on September 30.

According to a press release from the ADAI, though the milk supply is expected to remain available, the closure will impact over 100 public school districts, charter schools and government agencies throughout the state. 

ADAI Commissioner Rick Pate said he was currently working with the Alabama Department of Education (ADE) Child Nutrition Program and the Dairy Alliance to find new suppliers.

"Through our Farm to School program, ADAI has a strong working relationship with Alabama's Child Nutrition directors," advised Pate. "As soon as we learned of the plant closures, my staff began consulting with all parties to find a solution to this temporary milk disruption issue."

The press release added that the Child Nutrition Program was exploring the possibility of providing shelf milk to children. Shelf milk is pasteurized at higher temperatures. It does not require refrigeration.

According to, heating the milk to high temperatures through the sterilization process can deplete some nutrients, but not key nutrients such as protein or calcium. Typically, nutrients it may have lost, such as vitamins A and D, are added back after the process is complete.

"Shelf stable milk is projected to arrive at our north Alabama supplier the week of September 5," explained Angelice Lowe, the director of the Child Nutrition Program. "[ADE] Child Nutrition Program directors are also working with The Dairy Alliance to try and locate dairy producers who may be available to provide milk in their area."

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