Smith Hails EU Package On Free School Fruit

08 October 2008
SNP Member of the European Parliament Mr Alyn Smith has today (Wednesday) hailed the adoption by the European Parliament's Agriculture committee of a package of EU support for the provision of healthy local fruit in schools as a boost for Scots kids, Scotland's public health and Scotland's farmers.

The report, drafted by Danish MEP Neils Busk, approved plans to build on existing EU supported school milk schemes to create new support measures for school fruit. The fruit should be sourced as locally as possible, thereby helping local farming as well. The budget approved for the scheme was 180 million euro annually, which should contribute towards the aim of each primary school child across the EU eating at least one piece of fruit each day. Smith has written to Scottish Schools Minister Maureen Watt MSP to make her aware of the plans and ensure Scotland's kids benefit.

Smith said:

"This is just the sort of solid, sensible, workable report I wish the Parliament produced more often, and I'm delighted to support it. Scottish and European kids will benefit from this package, and it also meets a key SNP objective of using procurement policy to encourage local, Scottish, production into the bargain.

"It is clear that the key to developing healthy eating habits is to start them young, the Finns in particular have been leading European policy on public health and I'm pleased that this package will fit hand in glove with the SNP government's plans to see healthy school meals provided to kids.

"I have no doubt Maureen will jump at the chance to ensure Scotland is quick off the mark to get into this scheme, and given it will be in place by the next school year we can get things moving quickly.

"All in all good news for Scotland's kids, Scotland's diet and Scotland's farmers."