what does \"peanut free\" mean to you?

5 replies [Last post]
By kelly01 on Fri, 06-01-01, 18:13

Hi everyone! It just came to my attention during a different thread in the "schools" section, that many of us have a different idea as to what is "peanut free". I thought this topic warrented it own thread. I wanted to throw out the questions, 1)what does "peanut free" mean to you? and 2) how successful have you been in implementing it?

I guess I will go first. "Peanut free" to me, means that the school and/or classroom does not allow any "peanut products" in. By "peanut products" I mean products that have peanuts as an ingrediant, not products that may be cross contaminated. For instance, my son's preschool classroom was what I considered to be "peanut free". No one was allowed to bring in PB, cookies or treats that contained peanuts,etc. My view is that allowing these types of products into the classroom would poss a sizeable risk for my son.

However, neither I, nor the school, restricted items that could possibly be cross-contaminiated (ie, non-peanut bakery items, cookies w/non-specified choc chips,etc). To me, these items pose little if any risk to Dan as long as they are not ingested. On the days where there was a "questionable treat", Dan was provided with another snack.

We were quite successful with the above and my comfort level (which I know is different for everyone) was good. I felt it would be too overwhelming for the other parents to learn everything about cross contamination...I probably won't trust their judgment anyways. The other parents in the class were very receptive, and often did call me personallly to double check snacks.

So, "peanut free" to me is that Dan is protected from a reaction...not necessarily that he can eat everything brought into the class.

As Dan is only in preschool, we have a long way to go w/schooling...I look forward to any input/experiences from other members.

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By EILEEN on Fri, 06-01-01, 20:01

Kelly01,
I think you've asked a really great question and like you, I think peanut-free will mean different things to us all depending on our individual experiences (problems) with this allergy.

I would like to answer your question by describing what I would be happy to "settle for", which may be less than pn-free for many - but having to deal with a "pns-everywhere" environment at school,(and being there every lunch-time, party-time etc), I may looking for what is achievable locally rather than "perfection".

My son is also ta and so I would extend to tn (but NOT any of the other many foods he is allergic to).

1. no peanut butter (NEVER)
2 no loose shelled or unshelled pn
3. no pn-butter containing candies (eg Reeces pn cups)
4. no pn containing candies (eg Snickers)
5. no pets eat pn- or pn-containing foods (unless diet changed)

I would "settle" for this and not ask for "may contain" items to be removed. My son only eats and drinks what is sent from home and, at least for now, I don't have concerns that he will actually eat anything from any other child (he remembers all too well the consequences of eating an offered pn-cookie some years ago).

I do feel that if schools were pn-free our children would be less noticable since no-one would be eating pnb+j for lunch, all lunch tables would be pn-free etc. Our kids could more easily blend in with the crowd (wishful thinking maybe). My son's preschool classroom was pn-free (mandated by director before I even asked) and I feel that once all the parents got used to it (only one objected and was very firmly dealt with by the director without me ever becoming involved), it became a non-issue and the staff were more relaxed but ever viligant. I trained all staff members myself and everyone was really careful. I would have liked the whole school to have been pn-free (another wishful thought). I certainly had more peace of mind then.

[This message has been edited by EILEEN (edited June 01, 2001).]

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By mom2two on Fri, 06-01-01, 20:33

my pa daughter's school is peanut and nut free. No foods are allowed in with peanuts and/or nuts, no foods are allowed that have warnings or may contain on them. No foods are allowed in unless the parents can provide the ingredients that were used to prepare them (so no bakery items allowed unless they are prepackaged and labled).
Her school prepares all the meals for the kids. Even those children who are on special diets of their own (diabetics, vegetarians, etc.) must conform to these rules. I know the vegetarian mother was a bit peeved for a while and took her son out of the school as she had been preparing her son almond butter sandwiches on days they had meat items for lunch until my daughter got to the school.
The other day a child tried to bring a dry cereal into the school on a day the school was officially closed but there were parent conferences (and babysitting downstairs in the cafeteria) and she was not allowed as the head of school stated taht there was a chance the product could cross contaminate the counters, etc.

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By katiee on Fri, 06-01-01, 20:55

I just wanted to post part of an article available through The Calgary Allergy Network which deals specifically with this question, here goes!
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What does "peanut-free" mean?
It means that food does not contain peanuts, peanut butter, peanut oil or any form or derivative of peanut at all! It must not contain peanut stearate or "traces of peanut". Even if the ingredient label says "May contain traces of nuts or peanut", treat this label as if it says "contains nuts or peanut". A food item may labelled as having "mandelona" or "new nuts", which means it contains peanuts soaked in almond flavouring and cut to look like almonds. AVOID these products.

Buying a peanut-free food or snack from the store means buying packaged food with ingredient labelling. If it does not have ingredient labelling (i.e., bulk bin goods, in-store produced baked goods), do not buy it because there is no way of knowing if it contains a peanut product, or has been in contact with a peanut product.

When buying from the store, follow these guidelines:

* Do not buy from bulk bins. You don't know what is in the product, or what was in the bin previously. Scoops get moved from bin to bin. Avoid bulk bags of food that have no ingredient labelling.

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By Anne Parrish on Fri, 06-01-01, 21:34

Kelly01,

You are probably going to find a *wide* range of answers, but my definition of peanut-free matches yours pretty much exactly. I still wouldn't let my child eat most things that other people bring in to school; I just want to avoid the smell of peanuts, the peanut residue, etc. from foods that clearly have peanuts in them.

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By Rach on Thu, 06-07-01, 11:20

To me peanut free means that actual peanuts are elimimated, but as was earlier mentioned, products that may have been cross - contaminated aren't. This is only really because in the UK, to find a product without this warning is extremely difficult- even PA sufferers sometimes make "educated guesses" - personally, I'd rather go without, but it is hard! I don't know how hard avoiding peanut warnings is in the US
but I am going to Fl in August.

Take care
Rach

__________________

RACHEL

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