24 May 2002

SCHOOLMILKMATTERS:

CAMPAIGNFORHEALTHYKIDS&HEALTHYFARMING

School milk matters. It matters to children whose teeth and bones need protection. It matters to UK dairy farmers who, in England and Wales alone, could sell an extra £27m of milk/year if all eligible children drink it.

It matters to the UK economy which would benefit from substituting sales of potentially teeth-rotting sugar-based drinks for healthy, nutritious milk. A drink which helps to strengthen young teeth and bones could also cut health-care costs.

So what can we do to counter the legacy of Margaret Thatcher – the milk snatcher who abolished free school milk in 1970s? A lot – if we work together to push our latest campaign: School Milk Matters. To help promote subsidised school milk, we are teaming up with leading milk company Dairy Crest and we want other organisations to join us.

The EU pays for free school milk for nursery-age children and subsidised milk for 5-11 year olds. Yet only 16% of eligible children enjoy school milk regularly.

We want your help to reach parents, children, teachers and local education authorities to show them its benefits. Over the coming weeks we will share ways to help make milk available to more children.

There will be plenty of advice to help you help busy schools take advantage of EU grants available through local education authorities. We will showcase the achievements of farmers and others who have succeeded in taking action. And there will be cash prizes for those who have done the most to boost local milk consumption.

Theres no time to lose. National School Milk Week starts on Oct 7. Before then, we want to make sure that every eligible child has the option of enjoying milk. Turn to our Farmlife Section for more information. School Milk Matters – together we can make it matter more to youngsters and in the process benefit their health and that of UK dairy farming.