Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
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Consultation on implementation of the EU school milk scheme in England

Consultation on implementation of the EU school milk scheme in England

DEPARTMENT FOR ENVIRONMENT, FOOD AND RURAL AFFAIRS News Release (366/08) issued by COI News Distribution Service. 18 November 2008

A consultation on the implementation of changes to the EU School Milk Scheme in England has been launched today by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Under the scheme, Primary and Secondary pupils in England are currently eligible for a serving of subsidised plain or flavoured milk and plain yoghurt. When the scheme was extended to secondary schools from the start of the 2008 Autumn term, Defra committed to carrying out a consultation about the range of products offered and what to do with the "national top-up" to the EU subsidy.

The consultation runs to 10 February 2009.

Notes to Editors:

1. The EU School Milk Scheme provides a small subsidy (currently worth 3.76 pence per 250 ml serving) on milk and certain other milk products. The Government also pays a small additional amount (currently worth 0.7 pence per serving) to "top up" the EU subsidy.

2. Many parents pay a contribution of between 13 and 20 pence per serving, although some Local Education Authorities offer it for free.

3. The rules for the EU School Milk Scheme changed in August 2008. Until the Autumn Term 2008, the Scheme was available just to children in primary schools. Since then, the Scheme has been available to pupils in secondary schools too. (Children under the age of 5 are entitled to free milk under the Department of Health's Nursery Milk Scheme.) Although access to the Scheme is open to all children in primary and secondary schools, it is up to individual parents, schools and Local Education Authorities to choose whether or not to participate.

4. The range of products allowed to be subsidised under the Scheme was extended in August 2008. However, Member States may choose which to offer. Plain and flavoured milk and plain yoghurt have been offered under the Scheme in England.

5. The speed at which the changes were brought in meant that Defra was unable to carry out a full formal consultation on either the changes or how they would be implemented in the Autumn Term. However, Defra did commit to consult on implementation in England in the Autumn. Any changes to the Scheme to be made following the consultation will be implemented in the Summer Term 2009 at the earliest.

6. The consultation documents are available at:

7. Responses to the consultation should be sent to: by 10 February 2009.

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