Smith Hails EU School Fruit Boost

18 November 2008
Scotland's only full member of the European Parliament's Agriculture Committee Mr Alyn Smith has today hailed a vote in Strasbourg which will see each European schoolchild receive a piece of fruit each day, funded by EU cash.

The vote on the report drafted by Danish MEP Niels Busk passed by 586 votes to 41 and will see an initial 90 million euro allocated to a scheme which will see member states able to access budgets to provide primary school children with one piece of fruit a day. The decision over what sort of fruit will be left to the local authorities, but Mr Smith has already written to Scottish Agriculture Secretary Richard Lochhead and Schools Minister Maureen Watt urging the use of locally produced Scottish produce where possible.

Smith said:

"This is great news for producers, governments and schoolchildren alike! This will allow the Scottish Government to access new EU cash to create a new market for local Scottish produce, and will help with the long-term health of the nation.

"Finland has proven that aggressive intervention in public health and diet does work, and with 21% of Scottish schoolchildren obese it is vital that we follow their lead. We need to speculate a little with the Agriculture budget to accumulate later in the Health budget, and encourage a healthy population into the bargain.

"This is a good piece of work by the Parliament today, and I look forward to seeing it launch in schools in Scotland."