Free school milk plan gets a big healthy tick

Fresh milk campaigner Dairy Connect today welcomed the call by United Dairy Farmers’ of Victoria for a return of the long abandoned free milk program in schools.

Dairy Connect raised the importance of the availability of school milk back in September 2017, when it identified the health benefits for growing children and the economic benefits for struggling dairy farmers.

In the lead-up to the 20th World School Milk Day, on Wednesday 25 September, Dairy Connect again calls for the rollout of a new Federal & State governmentfunded fresh milk program across all primary schools which could help turn the tide for struggling farmers, who are battling high costs, drought and the market march of plant based 'milks’.

Foodbank NSW/ACT rallied to the cause in September 2017 when it joined with Dairy Connect to champion the cause of free milk and daily breakfasts in NSW and ACT public schools.

In a joint statement, Foodbank chief John Robertson and Dairy Connect’s Shaughn Morgan said health benefits for generations of school children had been trashed when the old free milk program was axed.

John Robertson said at the time that one in six students was arriving at school hungry and the government had a critical role to play in supporting them.

Shaughn Morgan said today that the economic benefits of healthier children and young adults far out-weighed the cost of free fresh nutritious milk at schools.

“Milk’s ingredients and nutrients differ from non-dairy options that contain, for example, almond, cashew or soy,” he said

“Not all non-dairy options have the same nutrients as those in milk.”

“All dairy milk – whether it’s fat free, flavoured or organic – provides essential nutrients for health and well-being.”

“Milk also contains nutrients including B vitamins for energy, vitamin A to help maintain a healthy immune system and calcium which helps build and maintain bone strength for growing children.”

“Since more than 90 per cent of the population falls short of the recommended three daily servings of milk and milk products, putting milk on the table at mealtimes and made available at schools can play an important role in healthy eating and well-being through adulthood,” he said.

As was stated previously, International Dairy Federation (IDF) President Dr Judith Bryans told the IDF World Dairy Summit last year that school milk programs provide children around the world with the nutrients they need to help them grow and develop healthily.

“If you don’t have enough food in your belly or good nutrition to keep you healthy, it’s hard to concentrate on your education and make the most of school,” she said.

Dairy Connect could not agree more strongly with the views of Dr Bryans.