European School Milk Scheme
The EU School Milk Scheme is intended to encourage consumption among children of healthy dairy products containing important vitamins and minerals. The scheme does not only have a nutritional character but also an educational character and contributes therefore greatly to the fight against obesity among children. The School Milk Scheme is there to provide quality products for children, to contribute to a healthy way of living and to nutritional education with a better knowledge on products.
The Commission pursues the need to make further improvements to the school programmes including the School Milk Scheme (SMS) to increase their efficiency and effectiveness. It has therefore set up an Inter-Service Steering Group (ISSG) to explore the requirement for a broader policy targeting children at schools, and a public consultation on the future of school schemes (including milk and fruit/vegetable) was open until 22 April 2013.
On 30 January 2014, the European Commission published a proposal bringing together the two currently separate school schemes, the School Fruit Scheme and the School Milk Scheme, under a joint framework. In a context of declining consumption among children for these products, the aim is to address poor nutrition more effectively, to reinforce the educational elements of the programmes and to contribute to fight against obesity.
The legislative proposal is accompanied by an impact assessment that evaluates alternative scenarios for the evolution of the policy on the basis of extensive quantitative and qualitative analysis
The proposal is under discussion in the Council and the European Parliament. As part of its Work Programme for 2015, the Commission decided on 16 December 2014 to assess the whole scheme for subsidiarity, proportionality and better regulation reasons as part of the CAP simplification. Pending this, the Commission recommended to the co-legislators that the work on the proposal of 2014 should be put on hold.
Evaluation of the Scheme
The School Milk Scheme has been evaluated in 2013 by an external company at the request of the Commission.
The 2008 revision
The revision of the School Milk Scheme in 2008 took into account a number of requests and suggestions from the Member States, the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union, notably a request for simpler and clearer implementation rules.
With the review of the scheme a number of new, innovative and more attractive products have become eligible for the EU-subsidy.
Further to various types of drinking milk, children have access, among others, to certain fermented milk products with fruit or fruit juice, plain fermented milk products, such as yoghurt, buttermilk, kephir etc., and a wide range of cheeses.
The EU-subsidy, moreover, is the same for full-fat, medium-fat or low-fat products.
Member States have the possibility to choose the products they wish to distribute from the list of eligible products and they also have the possibility to apply stricter standards than those set out in the EU list.
Secondary schools have the same access to the scheme as nursery schools, other pre-school establishments and primary schools. Secondary schools were before 2008 often not participating in the School Milk Scheme as it was not obligatory for the Member States to include them.