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Dietary Advice

Volume 401: debated on Friday 14 March 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health what percentage of the Government's five-a-day programme for schools is sourced from British fruit and vegetables. [102547]

[holding answer 12 March 2003]: Under the National School Fruit Scheme, which is part of the five a day programme, apples, pears, bananas and satsumas are provided free to children aged four to six. Since the beginning of the current school year, approximately 63 per cent., of apples and 73 per cent., of pears have been of United Kingdom origin.The Department is working with a range of partners to maximise the opportunities for UK growers to supply to the scheme, including expanding the range of produce provided to include other types of fruit and vegetables.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action is being taken to encourage low income groups to increase their consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables. [97324]

The Government's Five-a-day programme, a NHS Plan commitment, aims to increase access to, and availability and consumption of, fruit and vegetables particularly in low-income groups. Following successful piloting by the Department of Health, the New Opportunities Fund is providing £10 million over the next two years to support 66 local community initiatives led by primary care trusts (PCTs) based in the most deprived areas of England. Evaluation of the initial Department of Health Five-a-day community pilots showed that those who ate less than five a day at baseline increased their intakes by one portion over the course of the study.The Five-a-day communications programme will provide clear and consistent messages about Five-a-day, including the benefits of eating at least five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables each day and portion sizes. Work is also in progress with different organisations from across industry, including retailers, producers and caterers, as well as across government and with other agencies, to improve people's access to fruit and vegetables.Fully operational by 2004. the National School Fruit Scheme will entitle every child aged four to six in infant schools to a free piece of fruit each school day, as part of a national strategy to improve the diet of children. In addition, local initiatives to increase fruit and vegetable consumption in low-income groups may be found through health action zones, sure start, healthy living centres and other PCTs.