Members of the European Parliament has voted not to include plant-based drinks in schools, in a “significant blow” to children who cannot or do not want to consume milk.
According to a report by food awareness organisation Proveg International , the majority of Members of the European Parliament failed to include plant-based drinks within their own initiative report on the EU School Scheme, which impacts around 20 million children across Europe.
Lucia Hortelano, EU policy manager at ProVeg International, said: “We are very disappointed by the outcome of this vote, but we are hopeful that the European Commission will still move ahead and include plant-based drinks in the scheme as part of their review, which is out at the end of the year”.
She continued: “Many children in the EU cannot or do not want to drink cow’s milk for medical, ethical, taste, or environmental reasons. Including fortified plant-based milk alternatives is essential in terms of inclusion, availability, sustainability and affordability.”
The scheme has the potential to become the EU public procurement tool for the inclusion of sustainable and environmentally friendly products for children across Europe. The scheme’s inclusion of plant-based drinks could boost EU efforts towards more sustainable diets, in alignment with the Food Systems Framework initiative – the EU’s legislative framework for sustainable food systems.
The European Commission will now work on publishing a new proposal to implement the EU-funded scheme, with calls on the European Commission to bring about change and introduce unsweetened fortified plant-based alternatives to milk to the scheme.
Source : Food Bev Media May 17th 2023