Creed: An Taisce advice ‘inconsistent with guidelines’

Concerns have been raised in relation to An Taisce’s advice in the ‘Climate Action Teacher Resources’ pack, which suggests a reduction in the consumption of meat and dairy products.

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, was asked if he has spoken to his ministerial colleagues regarding content in the ‘Green Schools Programme’ on meat and dairy consumption for children.

The question was asked in a parliamentary question from the Fianna Fáil spokesperson for agriculture, food and the marine, Charlie McConalogue.

Minister Creed explained: “The Green Schools Programme is a positive and important initiative for schools.”

However, he added that its suggestions on dietary advice “appear inconsistent with the food pyramid guidelines in Healthy Ireland, the national framework for action to improve health and well-being.

The Healthy Ireland Food Pyramid, published by the Department of Health, recommends that children aged 9-18 years-of-age consume five portions of dairy each day, given the importance of calcium during this life stage.

Minister Creed outlined that this is “to support the development of healthy bones and teeth”.

Continuing, he noted: “Red meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans and nuts also provide protein essential for growth and repair, and they are also the main source of iron for healthy blood.

Two servings a day from this food shelf are recommended in the Healthy Ireland Food Pyramid.

He outlined: “My department runs the EU School Milk Scheme in national schools, in conjunction with the National Dairy Council.

“This scheme is carefully aligned with the Department of Health guidelines, and with the European Commission, which funds the School Milk Scheme with the objective of cultivating healthy eating habits at an early age.”

Concluding, Minister Creed said: “My officials are actively engaged in the on-going cross-Government collaboration on Healthy Ireland initiatives.”