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The School Milk Programme

The European School Milk Programme encourages children to consume dairy products and maintain a balanced diet. It also plays an educational role by supporting the development of good eating and nutritional habits that will last a lifetime. Through the European School Milk Programme, the European Union provides subsidies to schools and other educational establishments so that they can provide their students with selected milk and milk products. Working closely with the proposed EU School Fruit Scheme, which would provide free fruit and vegetables to school children, the European Union is working hard for the health of our future generation.

In the 2007-2008 school year, the School Milk Programme distributed almost 300,000 tonnes of milk to schools in the 27 Member States, with the European Union providing more than €55 million in subsidies. How do you know if your school is part of the programme? All participating institutions must display a poster in their entrance hall showing that they receive subsidies through the European School Milk Programme. You can also look on the website of the organisation in charge of implementing the EU School Milk programme in your country to find a list of schools that benefit from the subsidies.

On 11 July 2008, the European Commission expanded the School Milk Programme to increase the range of products covered by the subsidy and to ensure that secondary schools would have the same access to the programme as primary and nursery schools.

The new rules of the programme come into force in the 2008-2009 school year, giving schools and pupils a much wider range of dairy products to choose from. Included on the list are milk and its flavoured variants, and a larger assortment of cheeses (including low-fat cheeses) and fermented milk products, such as buttermilk. Milk products mixed with fruit and fruit juices provide pupils with even more delicious, healthy choices. For a full list of products covered by the programme please visit the Information for applicants section.

Member States are given the authority to tailor the School Milk Programme on a national level. Thus, it is the Member State that decides which products on the EU list will be covered by the programme subsidies in their country. They can also make further restrictions on the content of the milk or milk products that are offered under the subsidy – for example, by limiting the percentage of fat allowed. Additionally, within each Member State, the EU subsidies can be supplemented with additional funds.

To learn more about the available subsidies and the dairy products that are covered in your country under the School Milk Programme, please contact the national implementing organisation in your country.

The School Milk Programme