Hot lunch at school

Posted on: Sat, 04/14/2007 - 2:45am
kjtran's picture
Joined: 10/23/2006 - 09:00

How many of you let your child have hot lunch at school? At first, we were going to pack our own lunch, but my son was the ONLY child who brought his lunch..he wanted to have hot lunch like everyone else. I met with the central kitchen staff, the nutrition director, direct cafeteria person. They said they cannot say they are peanut free, but they do not have foods with peanut products. They went through the menu, and all the ingredients, everything is ok for my child to eat EXCEPT they do have a strawberry breakfast bar, prewrapped, brought in, has a warning on it , made in a peanut facility. That is the only thing. My child is also entered into the system, that when he scans his lunch card...PEANUT ALLERGY pops up, so the cafeteria worker is alerted that he is eating lunch today. It seemed pretty safe to me. He is not allergic to touch or smell. Just if he eats it. The teacher usually has her lunch at that time in her classroom, but she arranged it with the principal for her to eat her lunch at a different time, so she can be in the cafeteria when my son has his lunch. We did this all through first grade and most of 2nd grade. I just met a new mom with a child with PA, and she was just telling me that kids with PA should never eat at the cafeteria, should always pack their lunch. So I thought I would post it on the discussion board, to get a feel what other parents are doing for school lunches, pack or not to pack. I feel pretty confident with our kitchen people. Please tell me your thoughts. Thank you.

Posted on: Sat, 04/14/2007 - 2:49am
Carefulmom's picture
Joined: 01/03/2002 - 09:00

I won`t allow dd to do hot lunch. I can`t imagine that I would ever allow it after reading about Sabrina Shannon`s death (died from cross contaminated item in school cafeteria, she was 13 years old, had her own radio program on allergies, and was probably the most allergy aware child on the planet).

Posted on: Sat, 04/14/2007 - 3:01am
chanda4's picture
Joined: 12/14/2006 - 09:00

I know we are all at different comfort zones, I, like you have let my son eat in the lunchroom everyday this year. The school only serves 1 pb item and that is the pb&j Uncrsutables, they also(like the cereal bar) come prewrapped and only opened by the child that ordered it(and they sit at a table with all the cold lunch kids). *IF* our school *made* pb&j's....I would agree with the others and pack his lunch. I wounldn't feel confortable with cross contaminations. For now, he is allowed, it culd change down the road, he knows that. His lunch number also pops up an allergy warning, and I go in ahead of time to read labels and also highlight the menu of the choices he is *allowed*. The lunchmanager also calls me at home if they get in anything not listed. Just las week they had a sugar cookie delivered and she called and said she had a rice krispy treat(that I have checked and he has eaten before) and he got that instead. I do think it can work in some lunchrooms, but not all. I would seriously evaluate the lunchroom system, weigh everything before making the decision. We have 18 food allergic kids at school and only 3 order hot lunch...we're all at different levels, different comfort zones, but that's okay!
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 and EE)
Savannah-1 (milk and egg)

Posted on: Sat, 04/14/2007 - 4:18am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

I have [posted this on a similar thread, but I don't mind repeating it. DS buys lunch almost every day. I go in to the school's kitchen and check the ingredients each time he buys (I try to check 2-3 days at a time, but sometimes the food is only delivered the afternoon before it is served). I talk with the ladies who work there. They know who my son is. Most of the time all the food is fine, but occasionally they get something that is not properly labeled (that happened a lot a few months ago when they changed bread vendors). When that happens, we get him a safe substitute. Or on the 3 or 4 days a year when they serve a "may contains" cookie (indivually packaged), he gets one of his afe treats that the nurse keeps on hand for birthday celebrations, etc.
And the cafeteria does serve PBJ as a daily choice. But as I said, I get to know the cooks. I have seen their procedure for avoiding x-contamination, and I am confident with it. They use a separate knife, which is washed separately. They do it on paper, which is thrown out, then the counter is washed. They even change into a disposable apron when handling PB, which is then removed when they are done. I know this would be outside of many people's comfort zones, but I feel fine about it, and DS is less sensitive than many of the kids.

Posted on: Sat, 04/14/2007 - 4:42am
Peanut Militia's picture
Joined: 03/06/2007 - 09:00

Would you go to a resturant that had the same precautions you feel your school will make.
Would you send your child to that resturant with the supervision he will receive at school.
Are there any mom's you could ask to occasionally brown bag it?

Posted on: Sat, 04/14/2007 - 6:10am
Carefulmom's picture
Joined: 01/03/2002 - 09:00

The difference between the restaurant and the school is that at the restaurant I am there. Dd age 11 1/2 recently was at the food court at the mall with a friend and she called me to see if she could buy the same French fries she has gotten when I am with her. I said no. Why? Because how do I really know if something happens and dd is unconscious that the friend`s mother would use the epi. I think she would, but the only way to be sure is if dd has a reaction and we find out. The same with the school. Sabrina Shannon`s parents and Nathan Walter`s parents were sure the school would use the epi. Yet both of them died because the school waited until they were unconscious before they used the epi. The Memory thread on this board is full of kids whose schools waited too long to use the epi or just didn`t use it at all. If I ever did let dd eat cafeteria food, it would be with me standing there. I`ve used the epi before, so I know I would again. That is really the issue for me---with any of us, it is truly an unknown if our school would use the epi during a reaction, unless they already have. For that reason, my comfort zone is tighter at school than when I am with dd.

Posted on: Sat, 04/14/2007 - 10:21am
TwokidsNJ's picture
Joined: 05/28/2005 - 09:00

My allergic kids will not eat the cafeteria's hot food. I cannot imagine
1) checking every ingredient in every meal, and
2) having faith no ingredients will change.
Our food services SAID they were peanut/nut free (with the exception of PB Uncrustables which are pkgd) but then something changed and the allergic parents were not informed. They were very upset. I feel it's a risk I would not want to take as I feel it's a continuous risk.
Luckily, Fridays are PIZZA DAY (Dominoes) so he can still get the hot food experience of going thru the line and paying and feeling like the other kids. I do plan to allow that (unless someone knows if Dominoes is unsafe for PN/TNA?).
To me, eating the hot food in the cafeteria would be like eating at a restaurant every day without my supervision. We eat at restaurants as rarely as possible, and I watch my allergic kids like a hawk during and after.
[This message has been edited by TwokidsNJ (edited April 14, 2007).]

Posted on: Sat, 04/14/2007 - 10:53am
Momcat's picture
Joined: 03/15/2005 - 09:00

We don't do the school lunch, but we also don't eat in restaurants except those where we can read the ingredients (McDonald's, Taco Bell, Baja Fresh, etc.)
Our school does not serve peanut or nut products. I wouldn't trust them to check for x-contam. though.
Mom to 7 yr old PA/TNA daughter and 4 yr old son who is allergic to eggs.

Posted on: Sat, 04/14/2007 - 10:55am
Momcat's picture
Joined: 03/15/2005 - 09:00

Oops double post! Cathy
[This message has been edited by Momcat (edited April 14, 2007).]

Posted on: Tue, 04/17/2007 - 10:39pm
amy2's picture
Joined: 09/02/2000 - 09:00

My kids starting eating hot lunch last year. Our school's hot lunch is peanut free. they used to serve peanut butter sandwiches, cookies, etc.. but no more thanks to me asking! But, my kids still had cold lunch from home even though hot was peanut free for 3 years, then my son asked if he could have hot, then my daughter joined in! All the kids at our school with PA have hot lunch with no worries..if our school still served the peanut, they would only be having lunch from home. cross contamination is too much of a concern and risk for us.
Amy (mom of 2)
Daughter PA/TNA
[This message has been edited by amy2 (edited April 18, 2007).]

Posted on: Wed, 04/18/2007 - 2:05am
solarflare's picture
Joined: 02/07/2002 - 09:00

Just this month, we've started letting Jason buy lunch at school. Once or twice a week, the meals are safe, so we let him.
Cheryl, mom to Jason (9 MFA including peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish and egg)
Joey (7 NKA)
Allison (4 milk allergic, suspect shellfish, avoiding PN/TN for now)
Ryan (1) nka *knock on wood*

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