Logistics still pose a big question The mechanics of giving free fruit to schools are still undecided following the launch of a pilot scheme by health minister Yvette Cooper. It has not yet been specified which suppliers will be involved, or precisely what types of fruit will be involved ­ or how much of the fruit will be British sourced. Distribution and payment issues have also to be finalised. Grower/supplier sources indicated that they did not expect to carry out work for nothing. Department of Health spokesman Alex Ross said the pilot scheme would determine all the issues. The DoH will pay for the produce, and has stipulated that it must be of top quality and covered by the Assured Produce Scheme or the overseas equivalent. The pilot scheme will benefit four to six year olds in 35 schools in Lambeth, Hackney and Leicester and will be extended to hundreds more school by the spring. If successful, the scheme will be rolled out to 23,000 schools across the country by 2003. Currently, local education authorities invite suppliers to tender for contracts. Ross said that in London the fruit would be sourced initially by the two London NHS purchasing suppliers. In Leicester a catering company is being used. The schools will decide the best way of getting pupils to eat the fruit. The concept has been under study for at least two years commencing with trials by Bangor University, further funded by IGD and the Horticultural Development Council. The government signalled its interest to the annual conference of the Fresh Produce Consortium in spring and then announced £2m would be made available, with schools in deprived areas targeted initially. {{FRESH PRODUCE }}