Smith Hails EU Scheme for Free Fruit for Schools

08 July 2008

Scotland's only full member of the European Parliament's Agriculture Committee Mr Alyn Smith has today (Tuesday) welcomed proposals brought forward by the European Commission for the creation of a programme for the free distribution of fruit and vegetables in schools, seeing this as a huge plus for Scottish school children. A similar scheme already exists in schools for milk and dairy products.

European funds worth 90 million euro every year will pay for the purchase and distribution of fresh fruit and vegetables to schools, with the money to be matched by national funds in those Member States which choose to make use of this programme.

Mr Smith said:

"There is no question that school children in Scotland will benefit from more fruit and veg in their diets, and I'm delighted the European Commission has put forward this proposal. With increasing concerns over the diet of our children, it is all the more important to use every means at our disposal to encourage them into good habits at a young age.

"It is estimated that 22 million children in the EU are overweight and Scotland has its fair share. This is a concrete step which will benefit millions of children across the EU, particularly those in underprivileged areas. I look forward to supporting these proposals when they come before the European Parliament."