The European Parliament voted to adopt a report to implement a school scheme to promote organic, unprocessed and local food in EU schools. The measure encourages the adoption of at least 25% organic products on school menus and rejects products rich in added sugars, fats, salts and sweeteners.
The report was drafted by Romanian MEP Carmen Avram. On May 8, Avram defended the report on the Parliament. In a speech addressing MEPs, she called on to vote in favour of the motion with the aim of «putting an end to the exclusion of children with food intolerances, allergies and restrictions». According to Avram, 24% of the students interviewed by the European Commission cannot access the school scheme, either because of illness or lack of alternatives.
As published in the Dairy Reporter, Avram urged the European Commission’s commitment and obligation to increase the budget allocated to the distribution of fruit, vegetables and dairy products. In her statement, Avram also called on to present alternatives to the already accepted products, and to stop prioritising low-priced offers when awarding contracts in order to benefit local producers and small farmers.
However, plant-based alternatives to dairy will be left out of the School Scheme. The European Parliament voted against the inclusion of plant-based drinks as alternatives to dairy products in the School Scheme. A «missed opportunity», as denounced by the NGO ProVeg International. However, the organisation has already presented a new proposal to introduce fortified unsweetened plant-based drinks into the School Scheme.
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