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article imageWays to get more fruit and vegetables into schools

By Tim Sandle     Jan 13, 2016 in Health
The European Union is keen to reform the types of food young people eat in schools. The proposal is to increase the quantities of fruit, vegetables and milk consumed.
The idea of altering the dietary offerings to school-aged children comes as a proposal to increase the amount of funding to subsidize healthier foods in schools. Added to availability, the proposal calls for improved education, focused on the value of eating one particular food type over another.
A Member of the European Parliament, Marc Tarabella, outlines the case in more detail: "A healthy, balanced diet is the foundation of good health but the consumption of fruit, vegetables and milk has been declining across the EU.”
Tarabella sees the role of the European Parliament (which is an advisory body but has no legislative function — decisions are made by representatives of the governments of member countries) as ensuring the funding is maintained.
As well as encouraging healthier foods, the aim is to reduce the availability of foods with added sugar, salt and fat in school canteens.
The proposal has come via the European Parliament’s Agriculture Committee, which negotiated the measures with the Luxembourg Council presidency. The proposal was approved with 83 percent in favor and 17 percent against.
One of twelve winning designs from the  New symbol for Europe  competition. Design by Rachel Graham
One of twelve winning designs from the 'New symbol for Europe' competition. Design by Rachel Graham
Rachel Graham
This vote led to €250 million being made available each year for providing milk, fruit and vegetables into schools. Given the size of the European Union, this sum only goes so far. One matter that was also debated was the distribution of the funding and the age groups of children that it should apply to.
The criteria agreed was a focus on children aged between 6 and 10 years, and to orientate funding to poorer nations. The longer-term aim is to have a minimum annual amount per child within the European Union.
In terms of education, the policy makers wish to encourage schools to take children to farms for visits to learn about food production; and to view local specialties. Here the examples quoted are honey and olives.
More about school dinners, Food, school food, School lunches, Lunches
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