- ‘It’s time to protect the nation’: Dr Hilary backs fresh calls to keep free milk in schools to safeguard children’s health.
- The School & Nursery Milk Alliance stresses that plant-based milks are “nutritionally incomparable” to nutrient-rich cow’s milk and warns of malnutrition from vegan diets.
- Most of the UK seems to agree, with 94% of households purchasing cow’s milk during lockdown.
Throughout the national lockdown, households across the UK led an unprecedented surge in demand for cow’s milk, showing that dairy’s popularity as a dietary essential is far from on the decline. This renewed outpouring of support for the dairy industry casts fresh doubt on calls from vegan groups to scrap free school milk for children under 5 – especially with Dr Hilary Jones, spokesperson for the School & Nursery Milk Alliance, offering his vocal support to highlight the “unrivalled nutritional content of milk”.
“You may have seen recent calls from Plant Based Health Professionals UK to scrap free school milk in schools, and instead offer plant-based milks,” explains Chris Hogg, Managing Director of Cool Milk. “We all have choices to make, and whilst we respect alternative opinions, we firmly believe that fresh cow’s milk can play a key part of a healthy diet. And most people in the UK agree with us – recent research showed that dairy sales have soared during lockdown, with 94% of UK households purchasing milk over the last four weeks”.
“Plant-based alternatives to milk are not rich sources of vital nutrients,” stresses Dr Hilary in an open letter to the Health Secretary Matt Hancock, in which he calls on the Government to prioritise the health of young children by continuing to offer free cow’s milk in schools.
“Plant-based alternatives to milk are nutritionally incomparable,” he adds. “Research has shown that vegan diets typically fall short of the recommended daily intake for calcium and can even lead to nutritional deficiencies in children. Until more research has been conducted and a scientifically sound conclusion can be drawn, health authorities must exercise caution when recommending plant-based alternatives as nutritionally adequate substitutes to milk in children’s diets.
“Now more than ever, our children need access to high-quality, nutrient-rich food. It’s time to protect the health of the nation, starting with children.”
To find out more, explore the resources below or join the School & Nursery Milk Alliance to help secure the future of school and nursery milk.