Funding boost for healthy eating in Irish schools

15.01.2016 13:32

Funding boost for healthy eating in Irish schools

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Views expressed here are the views of the national delegation and do not always reflect the views of the group as a whole
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Ireland will receive a higher funding allocation under the EU's school fruit, vegetable and milk distribution schemes to promote healthy eating, thanks to a European Parliament vote this week, backed by Mairead McGuinness MEP and Vice-President of the European Parliament.

The Parliament's Agriculture Committee, of which McGuinness is a member, agreed a €250 million deal to merge and strengthen EU school milk and fruit schemes, with greater funding and more emphasis on education.

"I voted in favour of allocating an additional €20 million a year for milk measures. This would bring annual funding for milk and milk products up to €100 million, with €150 million for fruit and vegetables EU-wide," McGuinness said.

"Over the 2014-2015 school year, around 160,000 Irish school children benefited from the Food Dudes programme which is supplemented by EU funding. I am delighted to say that we have secured an increase in the budget allocation for this important scheme," she said.

Ireland is set to receive over €1.75 million in EU funding under the School Fruit and Vegetables Scheme this year according to indicative allocations, a substantial increase on the amount of €913,000 allocated in 2015 (of which €861,910 was drawn down). Under the milk scheme, Ireland's indicative allocation for 2016 is over €900,000.

"Over 20 million children are overweight in the EU. In Ireland, one in four children are overweight or obese. Meanwhile, European adolescents only consume between 30-50 percent of the recommended daily intake of fruit and vegetables on average," McGuinness said in Brussels.

"Europe-wide, these healthy eating schemes can benefit as many as 12 million children in the 25 participating Member States by helping them get the nutrients they need and by teaching them why and how to eat healthily."

The new rules will be subject to a final Parliamentary vote at a later date.

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The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 216 Members from 27 Member States

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