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School lunchbox with egg
School lunchbox with chicken
School lunchbox with meat
School lunchbox with fish


World School Milk Day is held all over the world on the last Wednesday of September every year to celebrate the benefits and success of school milk programmes. The first World School Milk Day was celebrated in September 2000 and has since become an annual event promoted by the FAO  (Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations).

The History

In the UK, our history of school milk spans back over 100 years to the Provision of Meals Act 1906. This recognised that the provision of school food would allow needy and undernourished children to benefit more from education. Also, that milk was a food that could be provided to children to prevent poor nutrition.

After the Great Depression and the World Wars malnutrition among children was a great concern. So school milk schemes were introduced and developed. Throughout the 20th century, the provision of milk to school children has helped combat undernutrition in times of scarcity.

school milk


Milk and dairy products continue to play a role in children’s diets today. A carton of school milk provides a 4-6 year old with:

  • 52% of their recommended calcium intake
  • 59% of their recommended iodine intake
  • 100% of their recommended vitamin B12 intake
  • 59% of their recommended B2 intake.

For older children aged 7-10 years, a carton of milk provides:

  • 42% of their recommended calcium intake
  • 53% of their recommended iodine intake
  • 100% of their recommended vitamin B12
  • 47% of their recommended B2 intake.

Milk also provides energy and protein for their growth and development.

World School Milk Day is celebrated in many countries, with an increasing number of activities taking place each year. Schools and milk providers are free to celebrate as they wish. Celebrations can be at any level – from national or regional events to individual schools.

world school milk day

Support the School Milk Petition!

On World School Milk Day 2018, Dairy UK has called on the Government to safeguard the future of school milk schemes by committing to their long-term funding, post-Brexit.

New research carried out on behalf of Dairy UK has shown that over three-quarters of parents in the UK are concerned about the future funding of school milk schemes after Brexit, with 87% of parents rating such schemes as ‘incredibly valuable’ to children.

Dairy UK has launched a petition, calling on parents and consumers to join the call to protect the future of the school milk schemes and ensure millions of children continue to have access to affordable nutritious foods at school. The petition can be found here.

Children drinking milk

Last reviewed: 03/2017
Next review due: 03/2019