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More Schools Ban All Outside Food In Effort To Avoid Allergens

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Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and homemade cookies may soon be a thing of the past, says the Connecticut Post, as more schools move to ban all outside food. This means that all food consumed in the school would have to be purchased there. Perhaps surprisingly, most parents seem to be supporting the ban.

Citing concern over food allergies, and the difficulty of knowing what ingredients may be contained in baked goods brought from home, all of the schools in Milford, Connecticut have banned school lunches, cupcakes for birthday parties, and any other food brought from home. Cathy Berni, a Milford parent, was quoted by the Connecticut Post:

“The `no food' policy gives us consistency across the elementary schools.” Superintendent Elizabeth Feser also spoke about the decision saying “We've seen an increase in serious food allergies among children, and this is a way to make sure that everyone is safe.” Several years ago, Stratford, Connecticut schools took the same step. According to Superintendent Irene Cornish, “We acted out of concern; so many students have allergies. But we also want to encourage students to eat in a more healthy manner.”

Though most school districts have had 'peanut-free' lunch tables for a number of years, many parents feel that this step isn't enough to protect kids with food allergies. Kids may eat their peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and then return to the classroom, touching the same doorknobs, drinking fountains, and school supplies as those with peanut allergies. Since it may only take a trace amount of peanuts to cause a serious allergic reaction, this poses a significant danger. By banning all outside foods, the school district can ensure that there are no peanuts.

What do you think? Is banning all outside food an overreaction, or a necessary choice?

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