This article is a contribution to DG Agriculture public consultation on the Review of the CAP Schemes Providing Agricultural Products to School Children
EPHAC response is based on our reflection on the Commission’s consultation background documents.
EPHAC welcomes the opportunity to provide the European Commission with input from a public health angle in relation to the review of the CAP schemes providing agricultural products to school children.
Increasing fruit and vegetable consumption at population level, in particular among children, remains one of the most important strategies to prevent the pandemic of chronic diseases affecting, but not limited to, Europe. Since its inception, EPHAC has always been a strong supporter of the EU School Fruit Scheme, based on evidence on the impact it could have in terms of improved health outcomes by increased fruit and vegetables consumption.
Although EPHAC is pleased to contribute to the Commission consultation, we are slightly puzzled about the timeline of this process. The results of the EU School Fruit Scheme (SFS) evaluation were published at the end of last year (2012). These included a number of recommendations for improvement - while the School Milk Scheme (SMS) is currently going through its own evaluation. EPHAC would advise the Commission services to postpone this consultation process - for coherence reasons notably.
EPHAC regrets the low profile given to the health aspect inherent to the CAP schemes and thus would like to remind the public health values and arguments that justified the implementation of the EU SFS in the first place.
EPHAC would also like to re-iterate that the EU SFS and the EU SMS are two schemes that differ on a number of perspectives so their merge would not be advisable.
EPHAC supports Option 1 which consists of maintaining the current situation of two separate schemes. EPHAC welcomes the recent Commission proposal to integrate, in the EU budget, the accompanying measures and to increase the co-financing ratio and believes this is the preferable option. Whilst recognising accompanying measures as crucial to the schemes’ successes, we would find it too burdensome to be all included in the current or planned schemes.
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