how willing are schools to make cafeterias peanut-free?

Posted on: Tue, 01/20/2004 - 3:17am
meadow's picture
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Joined: 10/21/2003 - 09:00

Hi again,

I am starting to brainstorm a rough draft for my daughter's principal next year. She will be starting kindergarten. While she won't eat at school next year, she will in grade one. Since her allergy is airborne, I am curious to know how many of you were able to get your child's school to refrain from serving peanut products in the cafeteria.

I am very worried about her being ostracized by being forced to eat lunch by herself in a classroom.

What have others done in this situation? I am reading the fda pamphlet that deals with food allergies in the school nutrition program. It states that the school will accommodate the allergic child with written orders from a doctor, but since my child's is airborne are they obligated to remove it entirely from the menu? If so, how then do we deal with students bringing in a packed lunch?

This suddenly seems like a very sticky issue with a lot of room for volatility. I would love to know how others have addressed this issue.

Thank you so much in advance for any help/insight you might be able to provide me.

meadow

Posted on: Tue, 01/20/2004 - 3:33am
momma2boys's picture
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Joined: 03/14/2003 - 09:00

hi meadow, first of all, I believe what the FDA means by accomodating is that they have to serve your child a peanut free lunch. I also got excited when I saw that line, but not what I thought it was [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img] .
My school still serves pb. However, my ds is not airborne (as far as we know, knock on wood) allergic, or I would've fought to make the whole school peanut free.
Does your allergist agree that he is airborne allergic or is he one of those that believes airborne reactions dont exist? If he acknowleges them, than I think a convincing letter from him would go a long way.
My ds was sitting in his classroom with his aide eating because he was too nervous eating in the cafeteria. Now he is trying it just so he has some time to socialize with the other kids. Its very hard, I hope things work out for you. Keep us posted.

Posted on: Tue, 01/20/2004 - 4:36am
Nutternomore's picture
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Joined: 08/02/2002 - 09:00

Meadow,
We spoke with the Director for Food Services for our school district, and gained agreement for them to completely eliminate peanut butter/peanut products from the school lunch menu.
It turned out that only about 5% of the kids purchase their lunches anyway at our school. A far more difficult challenge for us for next year's planning (our child will be in 1st grade next year) is dealing with all the PB&J brought in from home.
Anyway, I didn't post the actual letter we received from her, but reference it (as Exhibit 6) in my early post last summer from our 504 planning efforts.
[url="http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/001046.html"]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum7/HTML/001046.html[/url]

Posted on: Tue, 01/20/2004 - 4:43am
meadow's picture
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Joined: 10/21/2003 - 09:00

Momma2boys,
Does your son feel left out? I worry about this a lot with my daughter. It might be more of a worry for me than her, I'm not sure at this point.
Our doctor is a believer in airborne allergies, but he doesn't believe an airborne reaction would be fatal. His main concern is ingestion, but when he wrote a letter to our preschool he did mention casual airborne contact would result in a reaction. He did not elaborate. He is very accomodating and willing to help us out - thank goodness.
I am also worried about a backlash from parents sending pbj sandwiches in children's lunches. Somewhere on this site I read about the reaction of parents in a California school. I am hoping to make my daughter's school experience as "normal" as possible.
Thanks so much for the reply!!!
Meadow

Posted on: Tue, 01/20/2004 - 4:44am
meadow's picture
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Joined: 10/21/2003 - 09:00

Nutternomore,
Was it a struggle for you to convince Food Services to agree to eliminate peanut and by-products from the menu?
Thanks so much,
Meadow

Posted on: Tue, 01/20/2004 - 9:07am
momma2boys's picture
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Joined: 03/14/2003 - 09:00

meadow, ya know, I dont really think he felt left out. He actually liked it. But when asked who he wanted to invite from his class to his bday party he said no one. We really felt he just had no time to socialize and make friends.
Youre right, it bothers us more than them [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

Posted on: Wed, 01/21/2004 - 3:01am
anonymous's picture
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Hi! I work in a school and have a pa child. I really thinks it all depends on the principal and/or county you are dealing with. I do not know of an peanut free elementary schools in our area, but know they are very careful about how they clean, etc. I know we are talking about an airborne allergy which is a whole different thing.
It is a sticky subject , but for schools , yes they can claim they are free of peanuts, but how do they reinforce it if other children still bring it in their lunches- that is the difficult one probably for principals. Good question when you talk to them.
One thing I have see which kills me is at a school that claims to be very careful, they serve peanuts at all the staff meetings which are in the library. This may be over the top but I even worry about that- just takes contact with one peanut on the floor. AAAAggg!
Sorry I have very little answers, but I do work in a schoiol so if you have any specific questions I'd be glad to help-. Good luck!

Posted on: Wed, 01/21/2004 - 5:21am
Nutternomore's picture
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Joined: 08/02/2002 - 09:00

Meadow,
No, I don't think it was too difficult. My wife had an initial meeting (or phone call) with the Director for about 30 minutes, and may have followed up with e-mailing some information.
She found, surprisingly, that the Director was already pretty literate on the subject, so she didn't have to do as much educating.
Within the food services industry, it seems as though there has been some degree of educational effort put forth (due to the legal implications), so perhaps you'll find that to be one of your easier tasks???

Posted on: Wed, 01/21/2004 - 1:07pm
Yonit's picture
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Joined: 06/24/2002 - 09:00

Nuttermore, I'd be interested in hearing how you approach the issue of kids bringing PB into the cafeteria next year. We are in a similar situation. Our PA son is in kindergarten at a private school. This year, for the first time, PB was eliminated from the hot lunch program (which is just twice a week), the three K classrooms are peanut-free since the K kids eat in their rooms, and there is a peanut-free table for kids who eat in the lunchroom (grades 1-5). We will try having our son at that table next year, but since he's never been in a room of kids eating PB, I have many worries about it. He is contact sensitive, but I really don't know about airborne sensitivity. I hope that having him at that table, plus hand-wiping by the kids in his grade (at least) will be good enough.
Perhaps it would help to at least ask the families of kids in his grade to try to avoid sending in PB, to reduce the risk to him. There are kids in other grades with PA, but not as severe (or proactive), and it's been quite a saga getting as far as we have with developing a reasonable food allergy policy.

Posted on: Wed, 01/21/2004 - 3:56pm
Nutternomore's picture
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Joined: 08/02/2002 - 09:00

Yonit,
We are in similar positions, although I think you followed my thread from September where we had just a [i]little[/i] initial backlash in our public school. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/eek.gif[/img]
Anyway, our first step will be for DW to "shadow" first grade for a day. That will give us a good indication as to potential areas of concern from both a facilities/logistics perspective for the entire day (not just cafeteria issues), so that we can hit the ground running with 504 planning...

Posted on: Mon, 02/09/2004 - 6:38am
SF's picture
SF
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Joined: 06/06/2002 - 09:00

Nutternomore: I would like to know what food service company your school district uses. I am planning to speak to our director of food service and we also have another meeting scheduled with the school as we work on obtaining a nut free status...Do you suggest talking to the principal first or food service first??

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