At the beginning of the new school year, the EU is resuming its scheme for the distribution of fruits, vegetables and dairy products to schoolchildren in all EU member States. Under this scheme, € 150 million is allocated each school year for fruit and vegetables and € 100 million for milk and other dairy products.
The scheme is designed to help promote healthy eating among children and encourage them to increase their consumption of fruit, vegetables and milk. The initiative reached over 30 million children across the European Union in the previous school year.
Although participation is voluntary, all EU member states opted to get involved, either for all or part of the scheme and have issued national strategies for its implementation.
The consumption of milk is decreasing, also among countries like Sweden where it used to be high. According to its national strategy, the Swedish National Food Agency recommends 2-5 dl of low fat milk, curdled milk or yoghurt a day for children aged 2-17 years.
One issue is the policy concerning vegan milk alternatives for infants and young children. Asked by the Brussels Times if the European Commission has issued any guidelines on the consumption of milk, a Commission spokesperson replied that the Commission does not interfere in the decisions.
“We make funding available but it’s up to the member states to manage the scheme and to decide on what products to make available,” he said.