The European Parliament gives its green light to a more modern, sustainable and quality based school scheme for fruit, vegetables, and dairy products. More than half a century after the first school scheme, the European Commission is called to revise its guidelines outlined by the European Parliament which managed to combine adequate budget resources with the need to preserve healthy and quality food, and investments in food education.
European Parliament rapporteur on the topic and S&D member, Carmen Avram, said:
“Healthy and fresh food for all our kids at school across Europe – this is what we wanted and we ensured it in the plenary vote today on the school scheme for fruit, vegetables, and dairy products under the Common Market Organisation Regulation. Thanks to our work and fight, the European Parliament is now calling on the European Commission to increase the budget and on member states to decrease bureaucracy in order to pave the way for more schools and farmers to join the scheme.
“We successfully achieved a significant milestone despite the EPP labelling our commitment to stop discrimination and assure inclusiveness for children with dietary restrictions as ´ideology´. No diagnosis should deny the right of a pupil to the school scheme.
“We believe that procuring fresh, healthy, sustainable and locally-sourced fruits, veggies, and dairy should not come at the expense of quality. Food education plays a crucial role to instil healthy eating habits. Educational measures have proven to be one of the most successful parts of the scheme.
“Education and healthy food distribution in schools must go hand in hand. We need a fixed budget for educational measures in which member states can chip in to fill in that percentage with national money, in order not to affect the budget for the acquisition and distribution of products.
“We also reached important results when it comes to children with allergies and intolerances – so they can receive adequate products in line with their medical conditions – and on the volume of organic products to be distributed. Products containing added sugar, added fat, added salt and/or added sweeteners should not be allowed in the scheme.”