How do you feel about....

Posted on: Thu, 05/17/2007 - 11:50pm
Lori Anne's picture
Joined: 07/13/2005 - 09:00

schools serving peanut butter? and why do you feel that way?

We have a 504 meeting coming up. We will have changes made to the 504 because dd will be eating lunch at school next year.

I've stayed out of debates for the most part, but I do read them and I have to say, I've learned from them. I don't want to start a debate or an argument here. I just want people's opinions so I can read them and then decide with my husband what we think is best for our dd.

I'm trying to protect the rights of my child and protect her health without trying to infringe on the rights of others.

The school already has peanut free tables. That was in place before we arrived. Every other table is peanut/nut free.

Dd is contact sensitive, but has not had any inhalation reactions. She has asthma and is allergic to peanuts and tree nuts. When I say she is contact sensitive, she had reactions involving watery eyes, sneezing, runny nose, and hives upon contact. Then eczema appeared after that. This happened in a public place, but not at school.

I'm especially curious how those dealing with multiple food allergies feel about this.

I'm not talking about bans. I'm talking about the school actually serving pb&j.

Please let me know how you feel. Thanks.

Posted on: Fri, 05/18/2007 - 12:29am
McCobbre's picture
Joined: 04/16/2005 - 09:00

I have been relieved and ever so grateful that our school district doesn't serve peanut products.
Now, we'll be moving to another state soon, and that school district does. Weekly.
And the last week of school (I believe it's this town and not the other one we were considering--and one town had uncrustables and one was regular sandwiches--I'm hoping for uncrustables here) they're serving it every darn day. Every one.
I'll tell you that I would be crazy not to bring up peanut allergies to the district's dietician and ask why they're serving it.
I'm not looking for a PB ban, but I've lived in a place where they don't have it, and children thrive--score in the 98% percentile on the state's standardized tests. They're healthy. It's not needed in the cafeteria line, and I'd rather not have so much of it at one time in one room.
I'm frankly a little nervous.
DS has actually been able to eat some cafeteria food (red baron pizza, baked potato w/ vegetables that we've read the ingredients for). He will never, ever be able to eat cafeteria food at the new school, and if the PB is not uncrustables (and maybe even if it is) he won't even be able to get milk there, and we've been counting on that for protein grams throughout the day (DS is vegetarian).
Lori Anne--for some reason I thought we shared a state. If you think it would help for your district to talk with mine at all, I'll be happy to share that with you offline.
[This message has been edited by McCobbre (edited May 18, 2007).]

Posted on: Fri, 05/18/2007 - 12:49am
Greenlady's picture
Joined: 06/30/2004 - 09:00

Our school serves the PBJ "Uncrustables" which are individually wrapped every day as an option to the hot meal, and I'm okay with it (for our situation). It doesn't seem to be a popular item and I don't see it as any worse than kids bringing their own pbj.
My son brings his own lunch and eats at a penaut-free table. As far as we know, he is not contact or aersole reactive, but he also doesn't get hives so minor reactions may be "masked." He is very sensitive to ingestion (he once had a reaction after eating safe pretzels at my office desk where I had eaten a pastry with peanuts the day before). (Now THAT was stupid of me).

Posted on: Fri, 05/18/2007 - 1:09am
Lori Anne's picture
Joined: 07/13/2005 - 09:00

I don't know if these are uncrustables or regular old pb & j. I just know that I was in the building and when there was that problem with pb for a while (contaminated, making people sick), the principal announced that there would be no pb&j served that day.
Oh...and I'm from CT.
I'm also thinking about lockdown situations. DD had a lockdown (I was there) when the class was in the cafeteria for a book fair (of all things--odd place to have it). The children had to move to an area where food is prepared. If they are prepping pb&j in that area, then I am concerned about a lockdown--especially when she is not allowed to carry her epi. The epipen is only allowed to be carried by those who can self administer and they don't consider k and 1st grade students able to do so.
We definitely have to rework some things on this plan.
Still want more opinions on schools serving pb&J. Thanks.

Posted on: Fri, 05/18/2007 - 1:12am
caryn's picture
Joined: 11/20/2002 - 09:00

My school switched to sunbutter -- not only do i feel safer for my kdg son who packs his lunch every day -- but I believe the school system has to feel better knowing that they will not be creating a risk in the cafeteria and that they do not have to be hypervigilant in the kitchen for cross contamination - i don't want them to feel the stress of allergies - so there are ways around that stress if they choose.....
[This message has been edited by caryn (edited May 18, 2007).]

Posted on: Fri, 05/18/2007 - 1:23am
chanda4's picture
Joined: 12/14/2006 - 09:00

I just spoke with out lunchroom manager yesterday. Our district(which I never knew) serves pb 5 days a week at most schools. Our LR manager got them to allow her to serve it just once, on Mondays and she requested yogurt as the non-meat alternative the rest of the week. I honestly don't mind our school serving the pb&j Uncrustables(they come pre-packaged, so no cross contamination issues)....this is the best way to serve pb&j in my opinion. And because they do it this way, and also make the kids eating it sit at a table together and then they wash hands after...I have not asked for a ban. If any of this were different, it may be more of an issue for me. But I do think schools can serve it safely, and if they do, then it is welcome. Good luck with your decision...this is JMHO based on *our* school.
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)
[This message has been edited by chanda4 (edited May 18, 2007).]

Posted on: Fri, 05/18/2007 - 3:01am
mistey's picture
Joined: 01/18/2004 - 09:00

I do NOT like the idea of it being on the menu at a school with a child who has a peanut allergy. We tell parents to consider the fact there is a child in the building before sending in food. Many have peanut free classrooms. But then to put it on the menu is disregarding all that.
Uncrustables have cheese. Soybutter and Sunbutter are government commodities. There are alternatives available.

Posted on: Sat, 05/19/2007 - 3:35am
Lori Anne's picture
Joined: 07/13/2005 - 09:00


Posted on: Sat, 05/19/2007 - 5:30am
McCobbre's picture
Joined: 04/16/2005 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by mistey:
[b]I do NOT like the idea of it being on the menu at a school with a child who has a peanut allergy. We tell parents to consider the fact there is a child in the building before sending in food. Many have peanut free classrooms. But then to put it on the menu is disregarding all that.
Uncrustables have cheese. Soybutter and Sunbutter are government commodities. There are alternatives available. [/b]
I don't like the fact either. However, as much as I do like Sunbutter, I do see sunflower allergy as an up and coming one, and I don't see its widespread use as one that would take away my concern.
Ratio-wise, peanut allergy is still going to affect more kids.
I just don't want to hurt other kids to keep mine safe (which, of course, the standard cheese sandwich does that my disrict's cafeteria uses rather than PB that other districts use).

Posted on: Sat, 05/19/2007 - 6:47am
Carefulmom's picture
Joined: 01/03/2002 - 09:00

My dd is allergic to milk and peanuts, and I don`t have a problem with cheese sandwiches being passed out. The reality is that a greater percentage of pa kids are airborne or contact sensitve compared to milk allergic kids. I think because a much higher percentage of pa kids are airborne sensitive compared to milk allergic being airborne sensitive, the schools should stop serving pb. This is not the same as a ban, but I do think the cafeterias should stop serving it. I don`t buy the argument that if they stop serving pb, they must stop serving the top 8 allergens (no bread at all then due to wheat allergy?). That argument just isn`t rational, again due to the much higher percentage of pa people that are airborne sensitive compared to other allergens.

Posted on: Sat, 05/19/2007 - 10:40am
Lori Anne's picture
Joined: 07/13/2005 - 09:00

I think that is a good point to consider. If I bring this up during the meeting and the school wants me to back it up with data, do you have a link to a report so I can give them the facts on paper?
I'm not saying that what you are saying isn't true--I believe you. I just want to be prepared to back up whatever I say in a 504 meeting with cold, hard facts.

Posted on: Sat, 05/19/2007 - 1:54pm
Nutternomore's picture
Joined: 08/02/2002 - 09:00

Our school district also switched over to using Sunbutter from the government commodities list as a substitute for peanut butter when DS entered the school system.
While children are free to bring in PB from home, serving Sunbutter in the cafeteria does help reduce the risk overall in the cafeteria. Because Sunbutter is on the commodities list, there was no financial impact to the school to make the switch (i.e. it was a cost neutral decision).

Posted on: Sun, 05/20/2007 - 1:28am
Carefulmom's picture
Joined: 01/03/2002 - 09:00

Quote:Originally posted by Lori Anne:
I think that is a good point to consider. If I bring this up during the meeting and the school wants me to back it up with data, do you have a link to a report so I can give them the facts on paper?
I'm not saying that what you are saying isn't true--I believe you. I just want to be prepared to back up whatever I say in a 504 meeting with cold, hard facts.
I`ve read every FAAN Newsletter since I joined in 1996. These kinds of statistics are in quite a few of the newsletters. If you call them, maybe they can send you an article, if you tell them what you need. The issue to me is this: Pa is more likely to become airborne sensitive with age compared to some of the other allergens like milk which are usually outgrown. There is no way to know which pa child will become airborne or contact sensitive. Even if a school has 5 pa kids are none are airborne sensitive today, next year one of them might be or two years from now. It is all about reduce the risk. Milk allergy is usually outgrown and pa usually isn`t. So it isn`t likely that a milk allergic child in the school who isn`t contact or airborne sensitive is going to become airborne/contact sensitive. Whereas with pa, there is a much greater chance that a child will have an airborne or contact reaction even if they never did in the past. And it is all about reduce the risk. At our elementary school 85% of the kids ate the cafeteria lunch, 15% brought lunch from home. Even if half the home lunches are pbj, that is nowhere near as high as if the cafeteria serves pbj. There is so much more residue and risk if the cafeteria is serving it.
[This message has been edited by Carefulmom (edited May 20, 2007).]

Posted on: Sun, 05/20/2007 - 10:07am
notnutty's picture
Joined: 03/15/2004 - 09:00

Lori Anne: My son is PA and soy allergic. He has asthma and is contact sensitive. He is currently in all day kindergarten. I was very nervous at the beginning of the year because of his sensitivity. The school serves PB every day on a peanut butter cart. The hot lunch is peanut free. If the kids want PB, they get their lunch from the line, then have to walk to the PB cart located on one end of the lunch room. If the child goes to the PB cart they have to sit at the Red tables (located next to the PB cart.) If the child goes through the line and does not visit the PB cart, they sit at the Green Tables (peanut free tables).
My son has had one contact reaction at school this year. Runny nose, sneezing, itchy. Benedryl fixed the problem.
I am undecided whether this current set-up is going to work long term for us. I wish the school would quit serving it, but they claim that the kids need the extra protein (especially some of the kids who don't get enough to eat at home). That is a tough argument. However, if the school can get Sunbutter without any financial impact, I would like to check into it.
I just think that they have kept my son safe through hand-washing policies, peanut free classroom, etc... BUT I am still on edge knowing the PB is served every day.
I have not decided when or how to make it an issue, but I think eventually I will try to make a policy change.

Posted on: Sun, 05/20/2007 - 11:56am
Lori Anne's picture
Joined: 07/13/2005 - 09:00

Thank you for your replies and help. I appreciate it. I'd love to hear more replies if anyone else cares to add their opinions. Thanks.

Posted on: Fri, 05/25/2007 - 2:58pm
Sarahb's picture
Joined: 01/22/2007 - 09:00

I am not there yet....but will be soon. Our school district seems to be pretty aware and I think they handle things well. DH spoke with the head nurse and she seemed to be very good.
however when I go on the school website I see that they serve pb&J every day. I am thinking right now that I do not like that and will try to adjust it if and when we get to school. The part of me that doesn't like it....thinks that it is not only dangerous but disrespectful (from a child's pov) but i read that here from someone else's post and it just kind of stuck with me. I don't know that my son will feel that way. I think though that it's highly likely that any sensative kid would think at some time on some level that the school serving something easy to avoid and poisonous to them would make them feel very sad and worthless. On the other may help keep him aware.....but really I'm not comfortable with it.
So....I'm on the fence about it. I just want him to be safe. I would prefer that they not serve it but that will not be my first battle.

Posted on: Fri, 05/25/2007 - 6:09pm
NicoleinNH's picture
Joined: 06/21/2003 - 09:00

[This message has been edited by NicoleinNH (edited June 09, 2007).]

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