Health: EU school scheme, distribution of fruit, vegetables and milk. 250 million budget for 2019-2020

The start of the school year in various EU countries (schools started a few weeks ago in several EU Member States and are due to begin in September in the remaining ones) also marked the resumption of the EU fruit, vegetables and milk scheme in school canteens. The scheme “aims at promoting healthy eating and balanced diets through the distribution of fruit, vegetables and milk products while also proposing educational programmes on agriculture and good nutrition”. According to the Commission, over 20 million children have benefited from this programme during the 2017-2018 school year, representing 20% of children across the European Union. Commissioner for Agriculture, Phil Hogan, said: “Adopting healthy eating habits from a young age is important. Thanks to the EU school scheme, our young citizens will not only enjoy quality European products but also learn about nutrition, farming, food production and the hard work that comes with it”. A total of €250 million is allocated to the scheme each school year. For the 2019-2020 period, €145 million were set aside for fruit and vegetables, and €105 million for milk and other dairies. Although participation in the scheme is voluntary, all EU Member states chose to participate, for either a section or all of the scheme. Countries can also top up EU aid with national funds.

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