Food alerts Area Jewish schools on guard for food allergies to nuts, more

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[url="http://www.washingtonjewishweek.com/main.asp?SectionID=4&SubSectionID=4&ArticleID=6337&TM=223.41"]http://www.washingtonjewishweek.com/main.asp?SectionID=4&SubSectionID=4&ArticleID=6337&TM=223.41[/url] by Eric Fingerhut Staff Writer

It's unlikely that there will be any chocolate Chanukah gelt for kids at the B'nai Israel Schilit Nursery School this year.

The peanut-free Rockville school has not found any of the traditional kosher holiday treat prepared in facilities without traces of peanuts, so director Karen Gerton says officials will work around it. They'll likely be using Hershey's kisses and plastic dreidels instead of the gold-wrapped coins.

The absence of chocolate gelt is just one example of how Jewish schools in the Washington area are dealing with the increasing prevalence of food allergies among youngsters.

A number of local schools have banned peanuts and/or tree nuts (walnuts, almonds, cashews, pistachios, etc.) from their facilities as part of efforts to help keep allergic children safe. They also have trained staff how to respond if a child has an allergic attack.

Though school administrators and parents of allergic children say that the new policy has required education

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