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Free school milk was provided in England from 1937 to 1979, when Margaret Thatcher, then Minister for Education, stopped the scheme, earning her the nickname of “Thatcher, Thatcher, the milk snatcher”. The current government’s “5 a day” programme (in England) aims to increase the consumption of fruit and vegetables. As part of this, the National School Fruit Scheme entitles all children aged 4–6 in state schools to a free piece of fruit or vegetable each school day (currently either an apple, banana, pear, or satsuma). The scheme is coming into effect in 2004 and will entail distributing around 440 million pieces of fruit to over 2 million children in some 18 000 schools across England each year.
Mary Shaw is funded by the South West Public Health Observatory. Thanks to Edward Shaw.