Trials to offer primary school children a range of fresh fruit and veg are being widened.

The project, part of the DoH’s fruit for schools scheme, will now also include strawberries, cherry tomatoes and vegetable snack items such as cucumbers, cauliflower florets and carrots.

The move, announced by public health minister Melanie Johnson, could lead to the development of snack pack vegetables.

The announcement was made during a visit by Johnson to Kent to speak top fruit specialist Worldwide Fruit. WWF is one of the companies which won a tender from the DoH to supply four distributors in the North West which in turn provide free fruit to 1,800 schools. By December 2004, the scheme will cover 16,000 schools and 2.2 million children.

Robert Balicki, chairman of WWF, described the national schools campaign as “a catalyst for the whole industry.” He urged more top fruit growers to become involved.