The milk processing company, Fonterra, is going to give free milk to all schools in New Zealand if they ask for it. There are about 350,000 primary school children, from Years 1 to 6, in New Zealand. The milk comes in a small box and is heat-treated (UHT) milk, so does not need to be in a refrigerator. Fonterra tried this free milk scheme in Northland during the year and it was very popular. The sale of milk in supermarkets increased in Northland this year and perhaps this is because children enjoyed the free milk at school and wanted milk at home.
Fonterra said it is not charity. It is a business decision. Fonterra hopes that drinking milk will become a life-long habit with these young children. Fonterra is the biggest exporter of dairy products in the world but in NZ, milk sales have been declining about 2% or 3% each year recently. Milk has become more expensive and soft drinks have become cheaper. Fonterra said that milk is important for nutrition for children.
Free milk in schools was introduced into New Zealand in the 1950s but was stopped in 1967. In those days, milk came in small bottles which sat outside in the sun because schools did not have big refrigerators. It was the days before heat-treated milk. Many children hated that warm milk.
Milk processing includes pasteurisation, milk powder, butter, cheese etc.
UHT milk – it is heated for 1–2 seconds, at 135°C. It keeps, unopened, for 6 to 9 months.
refrigerator – fridge
scheme – plan
charity – helping poor people
life-long habit – something people will do all their life
declining – decreasing, reducing
nutrition – good food for health
Note hyphenated adjectives before a noun – heat-treated milk (treated by heat), life-long habit (habit which lasts during their life)