CDC sets food allergy guidelines for schools

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued guidelines for schools regarding food allergies. For the first time, federal policies for schools are now available nationally.

The guidelines, which are voluntary, were issued by the CDC in response to petitions and suggestions by parents, teachers, physicians and others who see the growing pace of allergies in children as a national concern. The CDC's own surveys have shown that about 5 percent of children in the U.S. suffer from a food allergy, and other surveys have shown the number to be even higher.

Guidelines in the classroom

The federal guidelines give schools and school districts a framework for dealing with food allergies, with information on taking steps to restrict shellfish, nuts and other foods that can cause allergic reactions in children. Information on making epinephrine injectors available and suggested policies for their use are also offered.

The CDC developed the guidelines under the advice of Dr. Wayne Giles, a noted food allergy expert.

The CDC's advice includes identifying children with food allergies, training teachers in the use of epinephrine injectors, and planning around or without common allergens in foods. The full guidelines can be read at this link.

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