With the start of a new school year, the EU school fruit, vegetables and milk scheme, aimed at promoting healthy eating to schoolchildren, is to resume in participating EU countries for 2019-2020.
The EU school 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.
More than 20 million children benefited from this programme during the 2017-2018 school year, representing 20% of children across the European Union.
"Adopting healthy eating habits from a young age is important," said Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan: "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."
Each school year, a total of €250 million is allocated to the scheme. For 2019-2020, €145 million were set aside for fruit and vegetables, and €105 million for milk and other dairy products.
Although participation in the scheme is voluntary, all EU Member states chose to participate, for either a section or all of the scheme. National allocations for EU countries taking part in the scheme for this school year were approved and adopted by the European Commission in March 2019. Countries can also top up EU aid with national funds.
Member States can decide on the way to implement the scheme. This includes the type of products children will receive or the theme of the educational measures put in place. Nonetheless, the choice of products distributed needs to be based on health and environmental considerations, seasonality, availability and variety.