The NFU is attending a meeting of the School & Nursery Milk Alliance this Thursday. The Alliance is a coalition of organisations from the early years, education, health and dairy sectors. The overarching aim of the Alliance is to ensure that providing all nursery age and young school children with free and subsidised milk during the school day remains a priority for public policy in the UK.
The Alliance has expressed concern about the future of the European School Milk Scheme in the UK, following the referendum outcome last week. This scheme has allowed children over the age of five to receive a subsidised portion of milk in school on a daily basis.
Earlier this year, the European Council gave its approval to a regulation aimed at promoting the consumption of milk, fruit and vegetables in schools, after months of negotiation. The NFU had lobbied the UK government to support this scheme and was pleased to see the final European step towards implementation of the new scheme in August 2017. Detailed rules for implementing the scheme and for the drawing up of national strategies were being negotiated, and Defra was expected to start consultation with interested parties this autumn. The UK was expected to receive almost €10 million a year between 2017 and 2023.
The Alliance made the following statement last Friday:
“We are calling on the Government to work with stakeholders in education and the dairy industry to ensure there is a replacement for the EU scheme. Children should not miss out on this vital resource, nor should there be a negative impact on the dairy industry at what is already a difficult time for farmers”.
“The Alliance will now be seeking to meet with the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to discuss the next steps and ensure that children over five can continue to benefit from milk at school.”
NFU Dairy Adviser, Sophie James said: "We are all too aware that young people are eating fewer dairy products and the NFU has been working hard in Brussels and with other UK stakeholders, as part of the School and Nursery Milk Alliance to monitor and push for progress towards 2017 for implementation of the scheme."
“The NFU will continue to lobby to improve access to high quality, nutritious British dairy products for our children in schools. This is important, not only to help improve the nutritional profile of children’s snacks and meals, but also to help shape consumption trends for the future.”
More information about the School & Nursery Milk Alliance can be found here.
An EU Referendum briefing for NFU Members can be found here.