Should children drink whole or low-fat milk?
This week’s story comes from a mum who works in the same real food world as I do; we’ve met at conferences. “Mum” also happens to be a dairy and farming journalist. Imagine her horror, therefore, when she was told by the organisation supplying school milk that her six year old boy couldn’t have whole milk.
In England, Scotland and Wales, pre-school children who are under five years old and in day care are eligible for free milk. There's a subsidy scheme for pupils under five years old in primary education classes. Under fives are allowed whole or semi-skimmed milk. They are even allowed whole or semi-skimmed flavoured milk with up to 7% of the product being added sugar. Apparently a six year old having whole milk is not allowed – unless there is a medical reason for the child to have whole milk.
The organisation with which mum has been doing battle is called Cool Milk. Cool Milk is the UK’s leading school milk supplier, working in partnership with local authorities and early years groups. Cool Milk is an organisation that benefits from the UK government school milk scheme, as it helps to supply free and subsidised school milk to children in pre-schools, nurseries and primary schools.
During a number of exchanges between mum and Cool Milk, the only medical reason volunteered, whereby whole milk would be acceptable, would be if a child were underweight. If (let’s call him Oliver, as he’s clearly asking for something outrageous)... If Oliver were underweight, he could have milk in the form in which the cow provides it (let’s not go near the raw vs. heat treated debate!) If he’s not underweight, he must have milk with the fat soluble vitamins removed.
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