Do you let them eat any hot lunch items and if so, how did you go about research?

Posted on: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 5:22am
carpediem's picture
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Joined: 01/08/2007 - 09:00

He would like to have a few items from the hot lunch menu once in awhile, or even just pizza on Fridays. I have been in contact with the district's nutritionist. She is not too pleasant...kinda snotty. She said everything was fine, that he could eat any item, but then I mentioned cross-contamination and things changed. She said I cannot ask the vendors myself because the vendors would rather I didn't. So I am giving her a list of a few items and their side dishes. But spices, condiments, sauces, dressings, etc., have to be checked too. If you researched this, how did you go about it and how was the response?

Posted on: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 5:33am
chanda4's picture
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Joined: 12/14/2006 - 09:00

My son eats hot lunch every day at school. I read the labels of most the foods, but I never called to verify anything. I know many wouldn't touch hot lunch with a ten foot pole, but for us, it's been working fine. I am also not one to call manufactorers...so maybe I am the wrong person to be asking here. My comfort level is probably ALOT different then most. If however, I did not feel comfortable with it(or needed more info like you are asking) I think I would stick with cold lunch, that you *can* control. I think with hot lunch, you can expect only so much information, which you either take or leave, depending on confort zone. From what I've read and seen so far in our lunchroom(they do not *make* anything with nuts, they do however *serve*(meaning it comes frozen in packages and the kids who eat it, open it) those pb&j Uncrustables...and also an egg sandwich(like an Egg McMuffin, my son is allergic to eggs too)....so again, comfort level here. Good luck, maybe someone else has more info for you. I do know one thing, don't bother with the district rep...you need to go into your lunchroom and talk with the head lunch staff, get to know them, talk with them, make an appt to sit down and read labels. You'll get more info and support right in your school. Good luck!!!
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Chanda(mother of 4)
Sidney-8 (beef and chocolate, grasses, molds, weeds, guinea pig & asthma)
Jake-6 (peanut, all tree nuts, eggs, trees, grasses, weeds, molds, cats, dogs, guinea pig & eczema & asthma)
Carson-3 1/2 (milk, soy, egg, beef and pork, cats, dog, guinea pig)
Savannah-1 (milk and egg)

Posted on: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 9:16am
carpediem's picture
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Joined: 01/08/2007 - 09:00

I guess I thought that in the kitchen at his school, they just heat everything up or scoop it out and it comes mostly prepared. I will have to check into that. As far as comfort level, doesn't it really, for the most part, depend on severity of allergy? At some point, even two kids with the same "numbers" or sensitivity might have parents with different comfort zones, but first it depends on level of sensitivity to the allergen. When you say you read labels at school, do you mean all the food packages had labeling for cross-contamination, or are you not concerned with that?

Posted on: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 9:35am
chanda4's picture
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Joined: 12/14/2006 - 09:00

To be honest, my whole concept on the cross contamination is so unknown, really. (my opinion here) but you called call a company 100 times and get 100 diff answers. To be 100% sure your childs food is safe you'd have to grow it, make it, cook it all yourself. Most people do call, I just don't see the point. The odds are so very small, so far we've never had any reactions that weren't blantant eggs, peanuts or pistachios. *IF* we did start having problems, then I would change my confort zone....but *for now* I read a label, if no mention of nuts, no mention of may contain, no mention of proceced in a facility....then I let him eat it. Again, this is *my* comfort zone and yes it could change, but I don't want to avoid something that hasn't been a problem, until it is. So I did read all the labels at school, for the pizza, the chicken nuggets, the burritos, tacos, turkey, mashed potatoes....
I know many would want to call, I can understand that, I am not disrespectign thsoe that do, that is their comfort level, but mine is different. He is a class 5 peanut, class 3 egg...so he is a bit high, we've just never had problems. Maybe I should count my blessings, maybe I am right, who knows..... just find what you feel comfortable doing and stick with it. I know MANY parents that only allow cold lunch, I respect that, but my son begged me for hot, so I made a decision based on comfort, past reactions, my access to the labels at school and the lunchroom set up as well. So far, at this school, he gets hot lunch. Can't say it will be that way forever, but for now it has been great.
Good luck, I just wanted to share my view here, it's very different from most, but that is okay I hope. I'm not saying you need ot do it my way, just trying to let you know I am one person that does. Thanks [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
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Chanda(mother of 4)
Sidney-8 (beef and chocolate, grasses, molds, weeds, guinea pig & asthma)
Jake-6 (peanut, all tree nuts, eggs, trees, grasses, weeds, molds, cats, dogs, guinea pig & eczema & asthma)
Carson-3 1/2 (milk, soy, egg, beef and pork, cats, dog, guinea pig)
Savannah-1 (milk and egg)

Posted on: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 10:05am
pitterpat's picture
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Joined: 02/04/2006 - 09:00

DD goes to a private school that has a chef who is very allergy-aware. She can eat more at school than anywhere else. He has no nuts/pn in any of the dishes that they make. Kids can bring pbj, but he has no nuts so dd can even eat desserts. I know we are lucky to have that, but I can't afford to let her buy lunch at $4 per day!
Patty

Posted on: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 10:55am
Carefulmom's picture
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Joined: 01/03/2002 - 09:00

My dd who was a peanut class 4 has had several reactions to products made on shared equipment and not stated. I would never be comfortable with her eating hot lunch. There are just too many fatalities. I just don`t think I could count on the school to get it right 100% of the time, and 99% isn`t good enough when it is life and death. The story that really made me positive that I will never allow dd to eat hot lunch was Sabrina Shannon`s story. She died at school from cross contamination. She was 13, had a radio program about nut allergies, and was extremely allergy aware. She had no way to know about the cross contamination. No thanks, I don`t need any more stress. It is enough to worry about the things I cannot control (what other kids bring in their lunch), don`t need to worry about something that doesn`t have to happen.

Posted on: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 11:26am
chanda4's picture
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Joined: 12/14/2006 - 09:00

I can understand not wanting the school to serve it, I can agree there, I do wish ours didn't. I wish if kids did need to eat it, they could bring it from home. But as it stands, our school is NOT ready to go there. They serve the frozen(then thawed) pb&j Uncrustables once a week, and that is it, the only item on the menu. They also serve an egg sandwich once a month that bothers me....I can see their point, but I can also see carefulmoms....I'm stuck in the middle. I guess if you can get the school to stop serving it, more power to you(hopefully we can in the future) but it will still be in the lunchroom, every day....so I think some focus on keeping the lunchroom safe is also improtant(unless you'd rather have a ban, where NO peanut would ever be in the lunchroom...you hope!) Good luck [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
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Chanda(mother of 4)
Sidney-8 (beef and chocolate, grasses, molds, weeds, guinea pig & asthma)
Jake-6 (peanut, all tree nuts, eggs, trees, grasses, weeds, molds, cats, dogs, guinea pig & eczema & asthma)
Carson-3 1/2 (milk, soy, egg, beef and pork, cats, dog, guinea pig)
Savannah-1 (milk and egg)

Posted on: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 12:13pm
TwokidsNJ's picture
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Joined: 05/28/2005 - 09:00

Well, since the food servies have to work with you BY LAW to provide safe meals for your child, I suggest she facilitate a meeting or conversation with them NOW. Remind her of the FEDERAL LAW that requires this. (someone else can link/name the law).
And I'd complain to a superior about her attitude. That will get some attention pretty fast.

Posted on: Tue, 02/20/2007 - 12:47pm
Carefulmom's picture
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Joined: 01/03/2002 - 09:00

I have to say that I feel that the law is a false sense of security. What I mean is yes, the law does require them to serve a safe lunch, but it doesn`t mean a mistake won`t be made. I know that when Nathan Walters` school killed him with a lunch that had peanut products which would have been against the law, I am sure that his parents would much rather have Nathan alive than the settlement they got when the school messed up. The law is all well and good, but it is a separate issue whether the school can be counted on to NEVER make a mistake with the lunch. I don`t think so.

Posted on: Wed, 02/21/2007 - 1:02am
bethc's picture
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Joined: 04/18/2005 - 09:00

My DD is in 1st grade, so this is the 1st year we've dealt with her having lunch at school. I talked to the school nurse about it before the school year began, and she prefers that kids with LTFAs bring their lunch from home. She said that it's not only the pre-packaged Uncrustables that get served; sometimes they make peanut butter sandwiches on site, and sometimes they bake peanut butter cookies. And despite the fact that we get the lunch menu in advance, sometimes things get changed at the last minute.
She said they use peanut butter to reach the state guidelines for protein when they're short otherwise. I have heard that this nurse has been asking the school district to stop serving peanut butter in the hot lunch, so she's not actually defending this to me, just explaining why it's happening.
So the reasons we don't do hot lunch are these: I didn't have access to looking at the packages they use, they introduce new things from time to time throughout the year, sometimes substitutions are made that aren't listed on the lunch menu, I'm not confident that peanut protein will always get washed thoroughly off of every dish when we know it is on dishes & utensils (not just in an Uncrustables wrapper), and we have a very big school and the people serving lunch don't know who my DD is.
There is a PA boy in my DD's class who eats hot lunch at the peanut-free table and just doesn't take the peanut items. But lately when there was a cookie, he showed it to my DD and asked her what kind she thought it was! I told her that if he asks her something like that again, tell him not to taste it. Tell him to go talk to the person serving it and tell them he's allergic to peanuts. He and his parents have recently come here from another country, and it sounds like they aren't as aware of the risks he should look out for.

Posted on: Wed, 02/21/2007 - 2:11am
Carefulmom's picture
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Joined: 01/03/2002 - 09:00

The hot lunch people do not know who your dd is, but what if she has a reaction? At dd`s elementary school all the allergy kids were known to the whole cafeteria staff. There was a photo of each of them in the cafeteria office also. It seems pretty important that the cafeteria staff know who the allergy kids are in case one has a reaction.

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