EU school children to receive milk, fruit and vegetables
Aimed at promoting healthy eating habits among children, the scheme will include the distribution of fruit, vegetables and milk products, as well as dedicated educational programmes to teach pupils about the importance of good nutrition and to explain how food is produced.
This single scheme merges and optimises the existing projects that last year reached over 20 million children.
Although participation is optional, all 28 Member States indicated they will take part in the initiative in the 2017/2018 school year.
Fresh fruit, vegetables and drinking milk will be given as a priority to school children. Processed products such as soup, fruit compotes, juice, yoghurts and cheese may also be distributed if this choice is approved by the national health authorities.
No added sugar, salt and fat are allowed unless the national health authorities permit limited quantities.
Besides deciding on the exact way to put the scheme in place,like the inclusion of thematic educational measures and other agricultural products, Member States have the option to top up the EU aid with national aid for financing the scheme.
This choice of products shall be based on health and environmental considerations, seasonality, variety and availability with priority to EU products.
Member States may encourage local or regional purchasing, organic products, short supply chains, environmental benefits, agricultural quality schemes.
Of the €250 million EU funding agreed for 2017–2018 school year, roughly €150 million will be allocated for fruit and vegetables and €100 million for milk. ■