The UK's National Union of Farmers (NFU) has written to the Dfes (the Department of Education and Skills) in protest, following the decision by the School Meals Review Panel to remove whole milk from the list of foods to be offered to schoolchildren. 

In the letter, Gwyn Jones, chairman of the Dairy Board, says whole milk is a staple food, which at 3.5% has a low fat content and is naturally full of nutrients.

"The NFU board is surprised and disappointed that whole milk has been bracketed with a range of junk foods, a classification that sends entirely the wrong message to parents and teachers," Jones said. "In fact, for children who are undernourished, suffering from malnutrition or arrive at school unfed and hungry (one in three children) the decision is unwise. Ultimately, whether children should be offered whole milk at school should be a matter for parental choice."

The NFU expressed further concern about the future of dairy products in schools after 2008. While milk and yoghurt drinks are likely to remain on the list of approved products, other dairy products look set to be dropped from the list of specific food groupings from 2008 onwards. In its letter, the NFU requested a meeting with Dfes to clarify this issue.