NFU Scotland has called for a review of Scotland’s school milk scheme to be used to expand the offer to cover local cheese and yoghurt for youngsters as a means of helping educate children on healthy eating.
Responding to the Scottish Government consultation on the EU scheme, which allows local authorities to claim funding to subsidise milk in schools, the union said that it strongly supported its aims of improving nutrition and reversing the decline in the consumption of dairy products.
• READ MORE: Dairy farmers sour-faced over healthy eating guide
NFU Scotland’s milk committee chairman James Rankin, who milks cows at Badenheath Farm near Cumbernauld, said: “The many health benefits of including dairy in the diet are well recognised but this scheme presents the opportunity to see the offering to Scotland’s schoolchildren go beyond fresh, tasty milk and bring in some of the fantastic cheeses and yoghurts we produce here in Scotland.”
He said that the scheme also presented an opportunity to strengthen links between schoolchildren and farmers and the various types of food they produce.
“Changing the focus of the school milk scheme will boost the consumption of dairy produce in the long term and use our education system to instil healthy eating habits,” he said.
Rankin added that the old and new science clearly proved that dairy produce was good for children, and that the scheme was an ideal opportunity to educate not only the school children but also their teachers and classroom assistants.
“Education is key to tackling the huge challenge of obesity, osteoporosis and unhealthy eating habits, and dairy can play a vital and important role.”