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COUNTRIES JOINING EUROPEAN UNION CONSIDER ADOPTING SCHOOL MILK PROGRAMMES AT PRAGUE CONFERENCE


Rome/Prague 14 September 2000 - With school milk subsidies cut by 20 percent in the European Union this year, the 2nd European School Milk Conference opened today in Prague for two days with more than 20 countries represented, according to an announcement by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Supported by FAO and the Czech Ministry of Agriculture, the conference promotes modern marketing techniques in school milk programmes. According to FAO Commodity Specialist Michael Griffin, "The dairy industry recognizes that children are consumers in their own right and as such milk must be presented to them in an attractive way. This includes advertising and promotions similar to those used by competing beverages."

The conference will provide examples of the current best practice in the administration of school milk programmes in a range of European countries. It will outline the status of school milk programmes internationally and within Europe and explain how to gain the support of decision-makers for school milk programmes.

"This is an opportunity for European Union countries to reassess their programmes in light of the decision by EU Agriculture Ministers not to eliminate the school milk subsidy altogether as was proposed in July. Instead, the 90 million Euro subsidy was reduced by 20 percent as a cost cutting measure," explained Mr. Griffin. "In addition, a number of countries which have applied for EU membership will be attending in order to assess the role of such programmes for their own milk sectors."

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For further information please contact:
John Riddle
Media Officer
tel: 0039-06-57053259
e-mail: john.riddle@fao.org


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