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Plant-based school milk

Petition urging EU to include plant-based milk in school meals scheme exceeds 49,000 signatures
Child holding a glass of milk on a table

A petition calling on the European Commission to allow plant-based milks under the EU school fruit, vegetables and milk scheme, has this week exceeded 49,000 signatures.

The petition, by food awareness organisation ProVeg International, gives European citizens the opportunity to support the integration of calcium-fortified plant-based milk in school meals as climate-friendly options on the menu. 

Click here to add your name.

‘Plant-based milks fortified with calcium are sustainable and healthy options that should be included in the school scheme as European society shifts towards a more plant-based diet.

‘Offering plant-based milks will help the EU to decarbonise society and at the same time allow for greater choice for those who do not want to drink cow’s milk with their school meal.’

Vice-president of ProVeg

While the EU scheme does not currently include calcium-fortified plant-based milk, the Commission is currently inviting feedback from the public as part of a consultation process which ends on 28 July 2022.

The case for plant-based school milk

The inclusion of calcium-fortified plant-based milk aligns with the Commission’s rationale for the review, namely to ‘create a favourable food environment that makes it easier to choose a healthy and sustainable diet’ as part of the EU Farm to Fork strategy.

Plant-based milks can support a balanced and healthy diet; nutrition experts state that soya milk that is fortified with calcium can be used as a nutritionally adequate alternative to cow’s milk.

Cow’s milk allergy is the most common form of food allergy in children, and globally, about 68% of people are lactose intolerant.

While the school milk scheme already provides lactose-free cow’s milk, it is important to provide a greater choice at lunchtime for those who are lactose intolerant and want to drink plant milk.

Plant-based milks offer a nutritious alternative for people with these health issues.

Some plant-based milks have a carbon footprint between 63% and 78% smaller than animal-based milk.

Concerns about the welfare of animals during the transportation and production process of dairy are not an issue with plant-based milks.

Plant-based milks contribute to inclusivity as they can offer all children, including those who choose not to consume dairy products, the chance to drink milk of some kind.

‘Both the EU’s Farm to Fork strategy and the Beating Cancer plan recommend adopting more plant-based diets, and this includes plant-based alternatives to conventional dairy products.

‘We urge the Commission to embrace the opportunity with this review to make calcium-fortified plant-based milks eligible products in the scheme and thus ensure greater choice of milk drinks for children across Europe.’

Vice-president of ProVeg

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