Fine Gael MEP Candidate Andrew Doyle urges schools in Carlow to avail of EU school scheme to promote healthy eating habits

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  • Half of Irish children aged between 5 and 12 are not eating the daily requirements for fruit, vegetables and milk, says FG European Election candidate

Ireland is set to benefit from over €3 million from the EU School Fruit, Vegetable and Milk Scheme. Fine Gael European Election candidate for Ireland South, Andrew Doyle says all primary schools in Carlow need to register to ensure every pupil benefits.

“Half of Irish children aged between 5 and 12 years old are not eating the daily requirements for fresh fruit and vegetables or milk. It’s really important that children enjoy a balanced diet and obviously fruit and vegetables are an important element of a balanced diet. This scheme is there to help schools assist by distributing these healthy food products, while delivering educational programmes about how food is produced and the importance of good nutrition.”

“For the coming 2019-2020 academic year, Ireland is to receive over €3.3 million from the EU school fruit, vegetables and milk scheme – €2,266,887 for the provision of fruit and vegetables and €1,039,137 for milk.”

“These allocations are based on the number of school children in Ireland and, for milk, on the take-up of previous schemes. This is supported by additional Government funding.”

“However, the number of schools participating in the School Milk Scheme has been declining. In fact, in the eight years prior to the 2017/2018 academic year, the number of schools participating dropped by over 50%. Some reasons identified as a cause for this include an increase in water consumption among children. But a major barrier identified to participation in this scheme is the charge levied to parents. Participation levels in schools which did not charge a parental levy were on average 400% greater than schools that did charge a parental levy.”

“A pilot model has been to eliminate this charge in order to encourage children to avail of portions of milk, yoghurt and cheese. I am hopeful that this year’s EU funding allocation for this programme will see this pilot of free dairy produce rolled out on a broader basis here in Carlow and around the country.”

“I encourage all school Principals to register their schools to participate in these schemes. It is never too early to learn about the production and health benefits of good food, and this learning should be happening in the classroom, as well as at home.”

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