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.
A public consultation on the future of school schemes (including milk and fruit/vegetable) has been recently launched and is open until 22 April 2013.
The proposals take into account, among others, greater coordination and synergy between the two schemes as well as education and health aspects and management efficiency.
The 2008 revision
The revision of the 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.
Facts and figures
In the 2010/2011 school year, around 300 000 tonnes of milk and milk products were distributed in schools in 26 Member States to more than 17 million pupils with the EU expenditure amounting to almost EUR 65 million. The 27th Member State expressed its interest to participate in the programme in 2013.
Evaluation of the Scheme
The School Milk Scheme is currently being evaluated by an external company. The outcome will be known in autumn 2013.