Should school milk be brought back in NSW ? A leading dairy body and a food relief organisation says it should be.
School milk was phased out in the 1970s and those silver bottle tops were a familiar sight with schoolchildren back then. Warm or cold it all went down on shoes as well.
But a food advocacy group says underprivileged areas should have access to free school milk and has urged the NSW Government to get behind it, just as Victoria has.
It says up to 700 schools should have access to free milk.
In the lead-up to World School Milk Day, being held on Wednesday 27 September, Dairy Connect CEO Shaughn Morgan and Foodbank NSW/ACT Executive General Manager John Robertson said there were around 700 disadvantaged schools in NSW and the ACT.
In a joint statement, the two said health benefits for generations of school children had been trashed when the old free school milk program was axed during the 1970s.
“Ironically the old scheme - which was first commenced by the Menzies Government in 1950 - was scrapped because of cost and what was then described as ‘lack of evidence of health benefits’,” they said.
“Since the 1980s, however, concern has steadily grown year-on-year among health professionals about the impact carbonated soft drinks and energy drinks high in sugar were having on successive generations.”
John Robertson said one in six students were arriving at school hungry and the government had a critical role to play in supporting them.
He said Foodbank NSW & ACT stands ready and able, with the dairy industry, to roll out a school breakfast program across the State, all we need is a commitment from Government to fund the fresh milk to pour over the cereal,” he said.
“The kids aren’t that keen on dry corn flakes in our experience.”
He said the the Victorian Government funds a School Breakfast Club program servicing around 500 schools. Fresh milk is sourced from the Victorian dairy industry and costs the State around $14 million a year. The program – managed by Foodbank Victoria – serves up around 400,000 litres of fresh milk each year.