Dairy Con­nect wants free milk for stu­dents

Dairy News Australia - - NEWS / NSW -

NSW DAIRY lobby, Dairy Con­nect, and food re­lief or­gan­i­sa­tion, Food­bank NSW & ACT (FBNA), want the NSW Gov­ern­ment to fund free daily break­fasts, in­clud­ing milk, for pri­mary school stu­dents. On World School Milk Day last month, Dairy Con­nect CEO Shaughn Mor­gan and Food­bank NSW/ACT head John Robert­son said there were around 700 dis­ad­van­taged schools in NSW and the ACT. Mr Robert­son said 1 in 6 stu­dents were ar­riv­ing at school hun­gry and the gov­ern­ment had a crit­i­cal role to play in sup­port­ing them. He said Food­bank could roll out a school break­fast pro­gram im­me­di­ately if the Gov­ern- ment pro­vided a com­mit­ment to fund the fresh milk to pour over the ce­real. “The kids aren’t that keen on dry corn flakes in our ex­pe­ri­ence,” he said. The Vic­to­rian Gov­ern­ment funds a School Break­fast Club pro­gram for around 500 schools. Fresh milk is sourced from the Vic­to­rian dairy in­dus­try and costs the Gov­ern­ment around $14 mil­lion a year. The pro­gram — man­aged by Food­bank Vic­to­ria — serves up around 400 000 litres of fresh milk each year. “Such a pro­gram in NSW, with sup­port from Gov­ern­ment and the NSW dairy in­dus­try, would pro­vide a nu­tri­tious be­gin­ning for our chil­dren each school day in metropoli­tan, re­gional and ru­ral ar­eas,” Mr Robert­son said. Mr Mor­gan said dairy farm­ers and nu­tri­tion­ists backed a call by Sen­a­tor Nick Xenophon last year for a fed­er­ally-funded free milk pro­gram fea­si­bil­ity study in pri­mary schools. The United Na­tions Food and Agri­cul­ture Or­gan­i­sa­tion en­cour­aged coun­tries around the world to cel­e­brate the health ben­e­fits of school milk pro­grams on the last Wed­nes­day in Septem­ber. In a state­ment, the in­ter­na­tional body said: “A free ce­real and milk break­fast pro­gram for pri­mary schools would de­liver much-needed ac­cess to af­ford­able, nu­tri­ent-rich dairy which would help un­der­pin healthy growth and de­vel­op­ment in lit­tle hu­mans.” “Ac­cess to the ba­sic build­ing blocks of sus­tain­able di­ets would lever­age a re­duc­tion in nu­mer­ous health risks, in­clud­ing obe­sity, for chil­dren and adults. “Milk is the ul­ti­mate food source for cal­cium, potas­sium and vi­ta­min D, three of the four nu­tri­ents of pub­lic health con­cern that many chil­dren most lacked in their di­ets. “Since more than 90 per cent of the pop­u­la­tion falls short of the rec­om­mended three daily serv­ings of milk and milk prod­ucts, mak­ing free fresh drink­ing milk avail­able at pri­mary schools would play a vi­tal role in health and well-be­ing through adult­hood.”

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