December 8 2013 Latest news:
Donna-Louise Bishop, Reporter
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Got milk? Three MPs certainly did when they acted as milk monitors for a morning at three schools across Norfolk and Waveney.
To mark World School Milk Day, Simon Wright, MP for Norwich South, visited Cavell Primary and Nursery School, Peter Aldous, MP for Waveney, visited Somerleyton Primary School and Norman Lamb, MP for North Norfolk, visited Neatishead Primary School.
The event aims to celebrate the white stuff, while encouraging children to drink milk and learn about its benefits.
The annual event, held on the last Wednesday in September, took place yesterday and has been celebrated in over 30 countries since 2000 by children drinking milk in schools and early years classes.
Delivered fresh to the classroom, organisers claim that while milk is enjoyed as a group, it promotes social development and independence and is vital for building healthy bones and teeth and improves concentration, memory and creativity.
As milk monitors, the MPs undertook tasks such as pouring milk and handing out stickers. Mr Wright said: “I think it’s incredibly important that we focus on the early years and what these children are eating. There are many, many benefits of doing so and not least the challenge on tackling obesity which is putting a strain on the health service.
“One child said to me ‘I like milk because it makes me big and strong’ and that’s exactly what we want to hear.
“World School Milk Day is about promoting the benefits that milk can bring to children.”
The 1944 Education Act introduced a free milk clause which gave a free glass - one third of a pint - of milk to all school children in the UK under the age of 18.
Today, under the Welfare Food Scheme run by the Department of Health, an estimated 1.5 million under-fives receive free school milk and it is also subsidised for school children aged five to 11 by the European Union under the European school milk scheme.
Mr Aldous said the children showed “great enthusiasm” and revealed he had always enjoyed drinking milk but had never been the milk monitor before.
“I am a regular milk drinker,” he said. “I have been throughout my whole life.
“I don’t have the full cream Jersey milk that I used to enjoy when I was younger but I do often have a glass of semi-skimmed milk.
“The benefits of milk are often underestimated and forgotten but for health and refreshment there is no beating it.”
World School Milk Day is an initiative driven globally by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations and is funded in the UK by Cool Milk.
The UK-based school milk supplier works in partnership with local authorities and early years groups supplying free and subsidised school milk to children in pre-schools, nurseries, and primary schools.