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Petition urging EU to include plant-based milk in school meals scheme exceeds 35,000 signatures

27 June 2022

Image source: ProVeg Nederland | Plant-based milk shelf at Albert Heijn


 

ProVeg International petition urges the European Commission to encourage healthy, climate-friendly nutrition

A petition by food awareness organisation ProVeg International, calling on the European Commission to allow plant-based milks under the EU school fruit, vegetables and milk scheme, has this week exceeded 35,000 signatures.

The petition (schoolmilk.org), which uses the hashtag #schoolmilk on social media, 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. 

“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,” Jasmijn de Boo, Vice President of ProVeg, said.

“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,” de Boo continued.

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.

ProVeg is making the case for including plant-based milks in the scheme on the following grounds:

  • 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.
  • Globally, about 68% of people are lactose intolerant. Whilst 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. Additionally, cow’s milk allergy is the most common form of food allergy in children. 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,” de Boo said.

“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,” she added.

ENDS

 

Notes to Editors

For media inquiries contact:

Peter Rixon at [email protected]

 

About ProVeg International

ProVeg is an international food awareness organisation working to transform the global food system by replacing conventional animal-based products with plant-based and cultured alternatives.

ProVeg works with international decision-making bodies, governments, food producers, investors, the media, and the general public to help the world transition to a society and economy that are less dependent on animal agriculture and more sustainable for humans, animals, and our planet.

ProVeg has permanent-observer status with the UNFCCC, is accredited for UNEA, and has received the United Nations’ Momentum for Change Award.

 

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