We are a group of students trying to push for a nut-free hot lunch program in the Waverly-Shell Rock School District in Iowa. This is a class project in our sociology Communities class. We are all students at Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa.

Mission Statement: Our goal is to increase public awareness on the nut allergy program and encourage the local population into action on the school, community, and public front.

Facts: 1. 3.5 million American have nut allergies. 2. 90% of children will not outgrow their nut allergy. 3. There are substitutes available at little to no cost for schools to use in their lunches. A substitute for peanut butter is sun butter which is made out of sunflower seeds. 4. Peanut allergy is the most common food related cause of death.

Each class member has been researching nut allergies. We have now broken into three groups: school, community, and political. In our small groups, we are going to try to gather support to have the hot lunch program be nut free so children with nut allergies can have a regular hot lunch experience while at school.

The school group has been researching the district and trying to get ahold of different officials to see what can be done. We also are putting together a petition to take to several different kinds of meetings that are sponsored through the school to gain support from the public.

The community group is trying to organize several events where we can educate the public and gain support.

The political group is going to contact members of the community who are going to run the in the upcoming city elections in November.

Please post your comments and let us know your thoughts!

By BestAllergySites on Sep 29, 2009

I think this is GREAT that you are doing this. What you are addressing above is good.

A couple thoughts on my end...there are two key factors:

1. Safety

2. Inclusion

1. Safety-peanuts in the cafeteria and in the hot lunch program poses a danger to children with allergies from a cooking and cross contam. standpoint as well as from a students eating standpoint. By allowing peanuts/tree nuts in the food-you now have more kids eating it who might not otherwise and more kids contaminating more surfaces and potentially leading to reactions.

2. Inclusion-by law public schools must have a lunch option for all children regardless of disability. Peanuts and tree nuts in the hot lunch/cooking area might mean that severely peanut allergic kids might not ever be able to buy hot lunch due to their allergy/cross contam. This is illegal.

Take a look at the resource page from my website for more info on disability law (life threatening food allergies are a disability.)

Good luck!

By jenniferbfab on Sep 29, 2009

Kudos to you for this effort! It's very exciting and I will be interested to hear how things progress. Will you please come back and give us some updates? Also, I am curious--is your effort focused solely on nuts or are you also working on other options as well, such as gluten-free lunches?

Also, would it help your mission to get some exposure on peanut allergy/food allergy blogs and websites? I would be happy to feature your group in a post on my blog, Food Allergy Buzz ( Other websites and blogs may be interested as well. Let me know--I'd be happy to help however I can.

Best, Jennifer B.

By Wartburg Communities Class on Sep 30, 2009

Thank you for your comments and ideas. We are very excited about this project and to see what we can get done. We have another blog that has started with the same thing and we would appreciate if you would follow our progress on that blog as well. The link is down below. If anyone has any more ideas, suggestions, or concerns, we would love to hear them.