The two EU-funded schemes that provide milk and fruit and vegetables to school children across Europe have been merged into one single scheme for the start of the 2017/18 school year.
The scheme aims to promote healthy eating habits among children, by focusing on fruit, vegetables and milk, although EU countries are also free to distribute processed products such as cheese, soup or juice derived from these basic ingredients. Products chosen must respond to health and environmental concerns in order to benefit from European funding.
The distribution of the products to school is part of a wider scheme to teach children about food and farming, and the importance of a balanced diet.
This is the first time the two separate schemes have been merged into one, in a bid to ensure simpler management and monitoring, and to reduce the administrative burden on national authorities taking part.
A budget of €250 million has been allocated to the scheme for the 2017/18 school year, of which €100 million has been set aside for milk and €150 million for fruit and vegetables. Each EU member state has its own specific budget allocation, based on the number of school children, and in the case of milk, on previous use of EU funding.