Letter to FAN on Peanut Ban

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This is a letter I sent to FAN today. As I mentioned in an e-mail to Chris, I didn not think it would do any good, but that I had to express myself on their position on peanut bans in schools. My note to them was titled 'A question and a comment' They answered the question (to say that bleach is no more effective than soap & water at cleaning up peanut residue) & they have (so far, anyway!) ignored my comment on the peanut ban. But anyway, here is my note (cut & paste from my outbox, so if the formatting is weird, please forgive me!).

Subject: A question & a comment To: FAN Hi! I saw a posting somewhere citing a Canadian study (?) stating that bleach is a particularly good thing to use to clean away peanut residue because the bleach destroys/alters/something the peanut protein. I was wondering if you all had heard of that & if there was any fact in this. Why I am asking is because my *severely* peanut allergic child is 6 months or so away from entering the public school (1st grade) here in Fairfax County &, based on what I have seen in my older daughter's classroom. I am getting concerned about how my younger one (with the peanut allergy) will fare next year. I am starting to think about what steps I will be asking the school to take and would like to include a specification on how I would like the table to be cleaned if there is any advantage to any particular approach.

Which brings me to my comment. I know that the FAN's official position on peanut bans in schools is that they are not in favor of them, that it creates a false sense of security, etc., but I would like to state that you are not speaking for *me* or for lots of your other members when you take that position. Actually, my daughter has spent the last 3 years in a preschool/kindergarten that *did* ban peanuts, as a direct result of Anne Mu

On Jan 10, 2000

How ironic, I just wrote them a letter myself. Infact, it was more a string of questions. I was furious at some of the things that I have read and I also think that they have a STRONG infulence on parents' decisions as they are seen as the "experts" in the area of food alergies. I had quite a few comments to make but just asked them to clarify their position first. I have no idea how to post their reply here, I'm just not that computer savy, but I will try to copy key points later this evening. Two of my little "peeps" are still awake. Thank you for writing them such a letter, I'm with you. And what's this crap about normal, our kids are normal, they just have an allergy, perhaps that would be a better attitude to take. and while I'm on a "mini" kick, wouldn't it be nice to teach kids what is *really* important. Why not teach kids about taking care of each other and about responsibility and lending a hand, instead of me, me, me. ok...I'll stop.

andrea

On Jan 13, 2000

Anne,

Can you post FAN's reply?

------------------ Mary Kay

On Jan 14, 2000

Their reply was, and I quote, "Soap and water clean away peanut protein as effectively as anything. Bleach and water would also do the job, but no more effectively than soap and water." They ignored the comment part of my e-mail completely. Not that I expected to have them change their position or anything, but I think it would have been nice for them to *acknowledge* another point of view at least.

Oh well. I know FAN does good work on lots of things & I know they have to be diplomatic in order to gain credibility with manufacturers & whatnot. I just wish they could have maintained a discrete silence on the peanut ban issue instead of coming out against it.

On Jan 15, 2000

Here is the letter I wrote to FAN and their reply. I have to retype both letters here, because I don't know how to post them here from my email.

MY LETTER TO FAN:

I must say that I was shocked to discover your attitude about banning peanuts in schools. I guess I would like to find out a bit more. Does your network feel that it is reasonable to ban peanuts from a classroom with a PA child? Would you agree that it is necessary to ban peanuts from Daycare and Preschools with PA children? What about a peanut free lunch table in the lunch room? Your article gives the impression that your network encourages parents of PA children to put their children in environments where peanuts and peanut butter are not controlled. I would really like to hear from you.

Sincerely, Andrea Schade

FAN WROTE BACK:

FAN's position was created by consensus from our Medical Advisory board. We all believe that all children, regardless of their food allergy, deserve to be equally protected while away from home. Banning one product, such as peanuts, and not another, such as milk, is unfair to the children who are at risk for severe allergic reactions to milk. Further, out position is based on input and information about situations around the country. It became clear to us over the past 5 years that bans were not achieving the goal of having everyone do what is best for the children at risk. We are aware if situations where property was destroyed, cars were "keyed" and other negative actions took place when peanut bans were attempted in several communities in the US and in Canada.

It is our goal to have everyone work together. Each community must find a way to develop a plan that suits their needs and the needs of the allergic children. Education of all supervising adults is essential to the protection of allergic children. Peanut-free tables or areas, and other controls should also be utilized where appropriate.

This was sent from Debbie Scherrer, Member Communications.

The impression I get is that banning peanuts is a good idea...unless it upsets someone. I don't think anyone would expect an allergic child to be in close contact with the allergen that would send them into shock, be it milk or peanuts. They are saying that if they cannot keep EVERYONE safe then they should keep no one safe. Personally, I don't care if someone "keys" my car, as long as my son is alive. She tried to give the position credibility by throwing the words "Medical Advisory Board" in there. I know that my son's Pediatrican while great in other areas could have cost us our son's life because of her ignorance. Even before I saw a specialist with my son, I knew more about allergies than she did, in some cases. Schools are not really based on what is "fair." Schools are based a lot on need, hence the phrase "special needs." As I have said before, a lot of resources are used to accomodate an emotionally and academically delayed child. Is this *really* fair to all of the other children who would also benefit from one on one tutoring, and special incentives? No it is not. But we realize that some kids do not *need* this special accomodation to be sucessful.

by not banning peanuts in the school environment we fail to keep our children "equally protected while away from home."

i would love to hear what you all think! I think their attitude is dangerous and a bit confusing and wishey washey.

Andrea

[This message has been edited by bakermom (edited January 15, 2000).]

On Feb 6, 2000

Dear Andrea, What a sad state of affairs that FAN to me appears to be a political entity rather than an advocate for keeping our "normal" PA kids safe! I live in Ontario, Canada and the school my 2 older non-PA children attend is PEANUT FREE...and I can assure the astute letter writer from FAN that there has never been any kind of retaliation against the parents of these children, what an absurd thing for her to say! The ban has been in effert at our school since my ldest daughter started kindergarden (she is now 10) as to the false sense of security it would engender...DAHHH HELLO??? anyone with a child who has a PA knows that the ultimate responsibility lies with the parent...when Wade starts JK in two years time, I will be checking everything, keeping communication open with the teacher, volunteer and EDUCATE other parents. At the very least, banning peanut butter and peanuts will surely make a difference in terms of direct contact to these substances on tables and play ground equipment. By the way, there are over 13 children in my daughter's primary school of 200 kids, with P/A, reason enough for our school to try to keep our kids safe!

thanks, Katiee

On Feb 7, 2000

FAN's positon on this seems to be that we should dit back and be quite because they KNOW best. Does anyone from FAN follow these boards, I spend a lot of time here and little or know time at FAN. My son has multiple food allergies, I know a lot of families in the same situation. Peanuts scare us all. FAN does not want to be confrontational with the folks who don't give a **** whether all kids stay alive or not. They will however accept a cheque from you. Chris how seriously does FAN talk peanutallergy.com/ Do they even have a link her?

On Feb 7, 2000

Many have told us that they are not happy with some of FAN's positions. I see a lot of what is going on now on the "inside" of peanut allergy because of what I do here, and I often do not like why some of the organizations do what they do (and often I am concerned why they don't do things also)!

I don't believe there is a link to PeanutAllergy.Com on FAN's site.

I don't really know how serious they take PeanutAllergy.Com. I have spoken to Anne in the past and am concerned she may look at us as competition. We are in contact with many organizations etc. and I have noticed this "competition" aspect before. Some of the organizations are very concerned to the point where they are reluctant to share information or cooperate with each other etc.! This is unfortunate and something we need to encourage all of them to do! For example: I recently had to encourage an organization to send us what they had (already published) regarding schools because they were worried that someone might just take their information and sell it such as had happened to them in the past. I had to explain our purpose and convince them that we work to get info out to those who need it, that we would not want to do what others have already done if it addresses the issue well. There is too many other issues which need to be addressed to waste time and effort on something that is already done! We want to see the info so we would know if it is of good content etc. and we would let others know that they could contact this organization if they were in need of this kind of information. The organization (as many others also now do) sent the info we were requesting. I know they read these boards and I would like to thank them here for their trust!

I also feel we need to have policies in place in schools which address peanut allergic children. Yes, I do believe that peanut products should not be allowed in a peanut allergic child's classroom. We can discuss this further.

I would like to hear from everyone with their opinion on this. Send me an e mail. Do not worry about it being to long, the more details the better. We can work on it from there.

------------------ Stay Safe,

[email]"Chris@PeanutAllergy.Com"[/email]

On Feb 8, 2000

I found the posts on this topic rather interesting as some of us in our group wondered if our feelings on this subject might be isolated ones. Our organization has also dealt with Anne a couple of times over the past couple years. After the first couple run in's with her we also began to feel that she viewed us as possible "competition" and that she felt she had exclusive rights to the food allergy business(and it is a business to her now). There is no doubt that FAN has accomplished a lot to be gratefull for and their experience in the food allergy area is extensive. However this does not mean they are all knowing, nor are they always right. It is an unfortunate fact that these days the media regards FAN as the definitive word on all food allergies. Try to find an article on peanut allergies that doesn't contain a quote or two from Anne. Whats worse, one is almost always her statement on bans and "false sense of security" ACK! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/frown.gif[/img] It's too bad FAN doesn't take more input to heart from support groups dealing with the more serious food allergies.

On Feb 8, 2000

Hi, There is not a peanut ban at our sons small nursery school. I know that they have been trained by our allergist, and are very cautious at snack and lunch times, as well as hand washing supervision. We are somewhat comfortable with this at this time because this is such a small school. We are concerned about when he attends a larger school. More people, more peanut butter seems to us will equal more risk. We are members of FAN and do like having the information they provide. We were not happy about another article that explained that peanut oil processed in a specific manner was safe as the peanut protein is nutralized during processing. We do not concider any peanut oil safe. While this article may be correct in stating that a certain temprature can nutralize peanut protein, we feel that the risk of a reaction is to great to take the chance on thinking some peanut oil is "safe". We also believe that this article may be a problem with and issue that is difficult to get others to take a seriously as it should be by suggesting that "some" peanut is safe. We have a no peanut rule, there is nothing that anyone, even a "Medical Advisory Board" can say that will change that. Brian and Jackie

On Feb 8, 2000

I did not renew my FAN membership this year because of their stance on peanut bans in school. I also never found any of their information as informative as the information I get here at Peanut Allergy.com. So, I instead chose to give my donation to this site. I was also on the FAN website today, and didn't find that too useful either. What a shame that they obviously have chosen this issue to be a big money making business.

On Feb 9, 2000

I am sort of toying with the same idea as you, dhumphries... I may not renew my membership to FAN this year, specifically because of this issue. If I do that, I will be sure to write them and tell them *why* I am no longer supporting their organization; otherwise I doubt they would even notice my absence. Did you tell them what caused the suspension of your membership?

Maybe if enough of us take this action, she will realize that *we* are all in this together & that we will make our voices heard.

On Feb 15, 2000

How sad to think that Maf and FAN are more concerned with making their $ than fighting for our children's lives. If they do NOT have a link here, they do view this site as competition. I sent them an e-mail to suggest they do set up a link, surprise surprise no reply.

On Feb 15, 2000

Maybe Chris, we need to put out a position statement to the media (this will cost us $$) to try to get out the message that FAN is not the deciding body for everyone with food allergies (tactfully of course).

On Feb 15, 2000

I am very glad to learn that others share this view. I strongly disagree with FAN's stance on this issue--especially since they are acting as "our voice" on these issues. They should certainly reflect our views. Another interesting point--I have noticed that several manufacturers of peanut products quote FAN's statement on peanut bans. Dhumphries, you've got a great idea there, and I think that I will follow your lead.

On Feb 15, 2000

I am glad you are all realizing that things such as this take money to accomplish. We started this site so we could find others so we could work together as a community to do more than we could possibly each do on our own. We have been working to explain why money is needed to address the issues we face. We have been working full time on peanut allergy for years now and hope you will join with us to make a difference. Even just a CD rom with the updated contact info for the media in just the U.S. costs hundreds of dollars. We have been working on ways to explain to you why we need money to work on the issues and to explain why it is so important that all of us give something. We have become so busy so fast that it is very difficult to keep up with the bills that must be paid. We hope you will help us in this huge undertaking. Developing this site, creating an organization, working on the issues and answering all the e mails, phone calls etc. is a lot of work, and we can only accomplish this if we have the resources. We hope you understand and send your financial support now (I cannot stress enough the urgency, please help us continue to help you and others and stay ahead of our growth) I am glad you are with us!

------------------ Stay Safe,

[email]"Chris@PeanutAllergy.Com"[/email]

On Feb 17, 2000

I agree with FAN on not banning peanut products in schools. I don't think that is being fair to children without PA. My 8 yr. old son is PA and I have him supervised at lunch. My son eat a bologna sandwich everyday for lunch, if bologna was banned what would he eat? Many kids eat peanut butter sandwiches at lunch and that is all they eat. Just have them wash their hands and have a qualified adult supervisor watch over a PA child. Peanut and nut products are always going to exist in the world. I don't plan on society banning it because of my son rather I put all my energy into prevention. I concentrate on teaching my son how to read labels and bring treats of his own if necessary. Once you ask someone at a party or gathering to accomodate an alternative treat there is no problem. I want my son to feel safe and in control. I want my son to be treated as normal as possible. As for not joining FAN, I feel that is a shame as this organization truly has made some advances with PA.

On Feb 17, 2000

Darlene you miss the point of this thread. It is not to say that a viewpoint similar to yours is wrong. There are many who share your opinion and many who share the other. The point of the thread is that FAN, by issuing their opinion against ban's, and by presenting themselves as "THE" authority on food allergies puts a huge roadblock in the attempts of some parents to safeguard their child simply because their beliefs on peanut allergies differ somewhat than FAN's. You feel the way you handle your allergic child in school is the best way to do so. Think how you would feel if some organization stepped in and told you and your school that you were endangering your child and making a serious mistake. Each allergic child has different reactions,needs,attitudes, etc.. and the situation needs to be tailored to the specifics of each. Fan's, across the board, generalized statement regarding ban's makes it quite difficult for some parents to do so.

On Feb 19, 2000

Hello, I am reading with interest your critique of Fan and their idea of anti ban and the false sense of security re peanut free classrooms or school. I must comment and inform alot of you that you are missing the point. They state that peanut free across the board rules don't work and they are right. Spend some time in a school and monitor lunches from different children and you will see what they really mean by impossible to enforce and a false sense of security. The fact is most non PA parents DON'T read the labels, don't follow lunch safe ideas and don't really care about other children that are PA in grade school. They avoid sending the obvious like PBJ sandwiches and granolea bars but that's it. The reat, "may contain..., processed in an nut plant... etc. gets sent in. Fact is those products are just as dangerous and deadly as a straight PBJ sandwich and parents are ignoring that. For the past several years I have been involved in education of all levels for all types of allergies, and wish to share with all parents this, at the pre-k and k levels parents are the most co-operative, as your child ages they also will take one more responsibilities, they will also ask to have more freedom and will want you to "let go" more and more.Teach them when they are young, the rules of survival,and they will learn to take care of themselves. No amount of peanut free environment will truly be safe and they have to learn that. Ask your schools to disallow PBJ in their classroom, teach the children why they should not eat PBJ at school and they will educate their parents. In the cafeteria, peanut, milk etc. free tables are a beginning, non allergic children will often tell their parents not to send the offending foods so that they may eat with their friends who are allergic. The FAN started for the same reasons this seems to have been set up, because you care, in Canada we have non profit organisations that serve to educate and inform about allergies. The AAIA and the AQAA, the Calgary network and the AAQ. They all have diffent views re peanut bans, but the common thread is respecting the safety of the children. In the end it all works out. Everyone has a different level of acceptable risk.

On Feb 19, 2000

In response to:

Hi, I am not missing the point about FAN and peanut bans. I am trying to REDUCE my daughter's exposure to peanut products.

Would you share your POINT on why it's O.K. to ban peanut products in the classroom but not in the lunchroom?

What if you were informed that there were going to be rattlesnakes in your childs school lunchroom and all you had to do was tell your child to stay away from them? By the way, your child has a very slim chance of dying from a rattlesnake bite. How would you feel if the rattlesnakes were invisable?

Now what if we told you we were going to try and keep all rattlesnakes out of the lunchroom - would you have a false sense of security knowing some rattlesnakes could sneak back in? I don't think so.

You may not want a lunchroom ban for your child, but I would welcome a ban for my child and all the other peanut allergic children.

Fan does not speak for me. If a school is willing to ban peanut products I thank them from the bottom of my heart. I thank anyone that is willing to try and understand the fear of dealing, on a daily basis, with the death of a child from peanut products.

Peanut butter and peanut products can and do kill. Both guns and tobacco products are banned from school property because they kill - why not ban peanut products because they kill? Both guns and tobacco products find their way onto school property even though they are banned. Does this mean we should lift the ban because it is a false sense of security?

It is FAN's "False Sense of Security" goop that makes it tough on many of us when dealing with the schools about peanut product allergies.

Just because something can't be guaranteed doesn't mean it shouldn't be tried.

Sue in Sunny Arizona

On Feb 19, 2000

Hello

I have avoided posting to this topic before, but just want to add one comment. For me, the problem with people stating that a peanut ban provides a "false sense of security" is that it is an insult to the intelligence and vigilence of the peanut allergic children and their parents. My daughter is only 5, however she is extremely vigilent and always asks before eating anything from a package - even when I give it to her. I think it is insulting to her for someone to say that she will be "lulled" into a false sense of security because of a peanut ban. The fact is my daughter is aware of her allergy at all times - today we went to the winter festival here in Calgary, and she noticed a broken peanut shell on the sidewalk, pointed it out to me and made sure we kept away from it. I don't think this is the behaviour of a child who will get a false sense of security from a peanut ban - although I think a ban is only necessary in daycare and up to grade two when there is a possibility that a child will not be able to resist the tempation to try their friends' snack.

On Feb 20, 2000

Just reading all the comments and wondering if peanut products are banned what would the substitution be for all government subsidized peanut butter that is sent to the schools for lower income children as an alternative to the regular foods that are offered? I remember in high school your alternative was always pb sandwich. I think some public schools NEED the peanut butter to nourish all the children who would not otherwise eat. This topic is extremely controversial. I do not believe in banning in public schools. But, I do think it should be banned in preschool where lunch is usally not an issue, most children are only half day. Ban the peanut treats.

On Feb 20, 2000

I would not have a false sense of security sending my child to a school where peanuts were banned. I would still feel very insecure. But, I don't think the point in FAN's statement about a "false sense of security" is how secure I or my family feel. The point is that the school may assume "We have a peanut ban in place so nothing can happen and we don't need to do anything more". If I didn't have to read labels, I wouldn't know that plain M&Ms were dangerous for my son. Parents of non-allergic children will still be sending in plain M&Ms thinking they are complying with the peanut ban. With everything else a teacher has to do, I don't believe that every lunch will be checked every day to make sure that offending items are not included. There may even be an an attitude that they don't need to check lunches because there is a peanut ban.

On Feb 22, 2000

Maybe I missed your point. But I still think that FAN represents the majority. Fan also thinks of safety. In the US school districts have the right to handle some cases individually. If a district wishes to ban, great for them, but it should not be a national ban. Some underprivilaged children's only meals are in the school breakfast and lunch. If they don't like the menu they can always have PBJ. To PA students it is deadly, but to someone who isn't, it is nutritious, doesn't spoil, free from the gov't. and it's delicious. I pray for my son's safety every day, but I also respect the rights of others. And I never use a comparsion like rattlesnakes or guns, because these are not food items. I am curious, do some of you feed your other children PB products? A reese cup? I would be interested in some responses.

On Feb 22, 2000

When my older children 11 and 13 are away from home ex. staying at a friends they are allowed to eat what is available to them. The rule is they must wash their hands and faces before approaching their peanut/treenut allergic sibling. As for school, we prepare their school lunches and these are peanut/nut free as is our home. If they purchase a food item at school or is given something by a friend they will ask about the food or read a label if available. The whole family is working as a team to keep our pa child safe. On the other hand we are mindful that others have food allergies and have learned to ask before giving food to others.

My pa child is 18 mos old and wont consider school for a while. Things can change between now and then. I am trying to take in a lot of information about this allergy. This debate has brought out many good points and would like to read this article by FAN. Is there a site to this.

[This message has been edited by Tlarrab (edited February 22, 2000).]

On Feb 22, 2000

Two comments;

FAN does not speak for the majority...certainly not for me.

We do not keep any peanut products in our house at all. Neither of my children are allowed to eat peanuts/peanut products even when they are away from home. There are plenty of other foods they can choose and the risk of bringing it home is too great.

On Feb 22, 2000

In response to Darlene, yes, I allow my non-PA daughter (8 years old) to eat peanut products BUT I also must say that she doesn't care for them too much. Both my husband and I work, so Mon-Fri she eats lunch at school. I don't think she has ever chosen the PB&J lunch. I think two times in the past 5 years, she has asked for a PB&J sandwich at home. Both of those times, I've made it for her and kept my son away from her by having him do something else. We then thoroughly clean my daughter and the table. She has also asked to eat some of her candy that she gets from parties or Halloween that contain peanuts or peanut butter. I always have her eat it in another part of the house (like in her room) if she wants such a thing. Fortunately, these are very rare occasions. Christine

On Feb 22, 2000

Just to add to the list...

No, I do not allow any peanut products in the house - including any item labelled "may contain". I can also add that neither my non-pa son nor I eat any peanut products at all - whether at home or not.

This is a choice I have made to keep my daughter safe, and we do not particularly miss the products. I would like to also mention that there is no official "ban" at my daughter's school, however I have personally asked the parents to avoid peanut products, provided a list of alternative snacks and educated the children in her class. There has only been one occasion near the beginning of the year where a child had a peanut butter sandwich and chose not to eat it because of the strong reaction from all of the other children who reminded her of my daughter's allergy.

On Feb 23, 2000

What a can of worms heh.To clarify a few things regarding peanut bans. There is a difference between an across the board no peanut/nut policy and a level of security afforded to the allergic children. In a schoolof 600 plus choldren, monitoring the safety and acceptibility of those lunches would be impossible and too time consuming. Through the years, differnt parents, schools and organisations have come up with several different ways of dealing with pa children. Time and again complete bans are the one issue that comes back and haunts them. They are impractical. Instead of going for the total ban across all grades, what works better is a partial ban. For Example, in our childs school their are, this year, 9 children with pa. 1 in grade one, 4 in grade two, 3 in grade three, 1 in grade five, none in grade six. The classes with pa children are peanut/nut free. The other classes are not. If my child participates in an ECA activity then the group is disallowed peanuts/nuts. Same for chess club. All outings that have a pa child go are also peanut/nut free. A reminder note is sent prior to the excursion. Yearly, during the month of Sept. and again in (March nutrition month)the children of all grades are reminded of the importance of the allergies in their school. We have an allergy committee too. POLICIES ARE SET AND CONTINUE TO GROW AND EVOLVE WITH US. The peanuts are banned only from the allergy classes. not the whole school.May I recommend the Anaphylaxis Handbook written by the Canadian School Board association. It will explain at great length the goal of peanut safe environments, not peanut free. regards everyone.

On Mar 1, 2000

I have read each of these posts with great interest. I was particularly interested in Darlene's comments. I wished I lived in her world (no disrespect intended, I truly do). I wish simply having people wash their hands after eating p.b. was all it took. I would probably take the same position that she has had I not witnessed the whites of my P.A. child's eyes swell over the pupils after being touched by someone who had washed their hands "3" times after doing the infamous peanut butter, pine cone, and bird seed craft. I have seen this not once but twice. The second time was when my husband ate a P.B. sandwich and washed his hands "3" times and stroked her face. I have seen her face swell and doubled over with stomach cramps in the back seat of the car after the first day of bible school. The first day the first craft was you guessed it ... the peanut butter, pine cone, bird seed trick. This was despite the fact that I removed her from the area where the craft took place. Her reaction began when her classmates entered the room after doing this project. The students had washed their hands I was assured. She sneezed "20" times upon their entry then displayed hayfever like symptoms. Shortly afterward the students got together, each one with their p.c. in a cup (total of about 50 kids), when it really hit her. This activity was planned by teachers even though they knew of her allergy and that she would be attending. On our exit from the school with my now sick child, I was told that her reaction must be in her head. After all, she had not touched the p.b.! This happened right before she was to begin kindergarten. Needless to say, she did not go to school there. I have home schooled for two years and would like to enroll her at that school next year (that school is our only option). My conversations with the principal have not been encouraging. Despite the fact that the school (which is small) has four life-threatening p.a. students, they do not see the need or are willing to enact any preventative measures. My attempts to educate the school on food allergies are met with glassy-eyed response. Even though recently they had a 2nd grader have a reaction after eating a piece of cake the school purchased and served in the cafeteria that contained peanut oil. They did not even figure out it was an allergic reaction. When the child started immediately vomiting, they thought it was a virus and called the mother and sent him home. The school motto seems to be "well, nobody has died here yet!" I assured the principal that if that had been my daughter it would have killed her. I was told today that a 4K student this week had a reaction. But have not confirmed that. My request that she eat in an area other than the cafeteria was rejected despite the fact that p.b. sandwiches are served everyday. My request for a peanut-free zone/table in the cafeteria was rejected. Both due to socialization issues. They are more concerned about that 20-30 socialization than her safety! Out of a 7 hour day, give me a break! I then asked for at least some teacher supervision since the children freely walk around with their p.b. from table to table, to at least keep her from direct contact. No, the teachers don't like to eat with the students. Once again, they say that interferes with the socialization process. I do not expect nor want the school to prepare any food or drink for my daughter. I trust her to only eat what I send with her. But when peanut butter is freely passed around everyday and quite possibly used in the classroom as well, my daughter's life is in jeopardy. I tell people to equate p.b. to cyanide. That's what it is to us. I also tell them to put a glass of milk on the counter next to a jar of p.b. Which one gives off an odor? After all isn't inhaling a form of ingesting? Which one has research indicated you are more likely to have a reaction from contact from mere table tops, etc.? Some people objected to the term of rattles snakes above. I found it appropriate. I am also offended that FAN dismisses a ban as inappropriate. Because of a lack of a ban at our area school, my daughter mostly like will not be able to attend that school. The other student's inalienable right to p.b. at school strips her of the right all the other students enjoy everyday and I'm not talking about the right to eat and enjoy p.b. . . but the right to attend school in a safe environment.

On Mar 2, 2000

I am against banning peanuts across the board when the reality is impossible. Some schools have 600 plus elementary school children and the banning has been tried with little success. Does that mean that there should eb no measures in place ike the above post NO WAY. It's all about degrees of risk, acceptable levels of security. Definately do a major in service in that school. Consider having the local ER help out in the presentation. Get some visuals, some principals/teachers/day care workers don't "get it" when your talking but take a picture and show them phase one of anaphylaxis and most wake up pretty quick. I've educated quite a few environments that way and it works. And then once you've done it all, and they still don't get it, in the states you have two options, sue, ot inact the disabilities law that works in your favor. Ask the LA Petit Academie schools. They got sued.

On Mar 2, 2000

FROM THE SOUTH MY HEART GOES OUT TO YOU IF YOUR CHILD IS THAT SEVERLY ALLERGIC TO PEANUTS. MY SON IS NOT AIRBORNE BUT I DON'T THINK HE HAS EVER BEEN IN A ROOM WITH ALL THOSE PB COVERED PINE CONES. IF YOUR SCHOOL KNEW ABOUT HIS PB THAN THEY ARE JUST TOO STUPID FOR ME. WE LIVE IN A SMALL TOWN AND I HAVE BEEN FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO HAVE NO PROBLEMS SO FAR. EVERYONE HERE LOOKS OUT FOR HIM BECAUSE WE ALL KNOW EACHOTHER. I AM NOT FROM A DIFFERENT WORLD, I JUST HAVE A DIFFERENT SITUATUION THAN YOURS. MY SON HAS VOMITTED BEFORE BUT SINCE WE FOUND OUT ABOUT HIS PA NOTHING HAS HAPPENED. MY SON CAN BE IN THE SAME ROOM WITH KIDS EATING PB&J. I HAVE TOLD THE SCHOOL THAT IF IT IS ON A CHILDS HAND, THAN IT GOES ON A BALL, AND THAN HE COULD TOUCH IT, AND THEN TOUCH HIS EYE, AND THEN HE HAS A REACTION THAT COULD OF BEEN AVOIDED FOR NO REASON.MY SON WAS THE FIRST PA EVER FOR THIS SCHOOL SYSTEM AND AT FIRST THEY THOUGHT I WAS OVER PROTECTIVE. BUT I WORKED WITH THE SCHOOL DISTRICT AND I FEEL THAT HE IS IN GOOD HANDS. PREVENTION IS SO VITAL AS IS KNOWLEDGE. NUTS ARE IN THE CLASSROOM AND PA PARENTS HAVE TO INFORM TEACHERS ABOUT IT. I WILL GRADUATE IN LESS THAN TWO YEARS WITH A ELEM AND SPL. ED DEGREE AND NEVER HAS ANY PROF. EVER TALKED ABOUT FOOD ALLERGIES THE ENTIRE STAFF, TEACHERS, AIDES, THE CAFTEREIA AND CUSTODIANS ARE INFORMED ABOUT THE PA AS FOR SOCIALIZATION PROCESS, SOCIAL SKILLS ARE VITAL TO LIVE IN SOCIETY. I TRY TO STATE HIS PA AS A FACT AND NOT A LABEL OR ABNORMALITY I TELL HIM IT IS THE SAME AS HAVING BLUE OR GREEN EYES. MY SON HAS A HIGH SELF-ESTEEM AND IS FRIENDLY. WHEN I DEALT WITH THE SCHOOL THEY WANTED TO PLACE HIM IN THE HALLWAY FOR LUNCH. I VETOED THAT ONE I WORKED SIX YEARS ON BUILDING HIS ESTEEM AND THEY WOULD DESTROY IT IN ONE DAY! OUR SCHOOL HAS K-12 ABOUT 650 KIDS AND HE IS THE ONLY ONE WITH PA. MAKE A FOLDER FULL OF INFO FOR YOUR SUPT. TO READ WITH ALL THE FAN AND OTHER INFO. BUY THE VIDEOS AND EPITRAINER AND SHOW THE SCHOOL ALSO GO TO THE SPL. ED DEPT. FOR THE SCHOOL OR THE COUNTY. OUR SCHOOL BOARD HELD AN EMERGENCY MEETING FOR MY SON AND THEN AN AIDE WAS HIRED TO SUPREVISE LUNCH AND RECESS. I WISH THERE WAS A CHAT ROOM BECAUSE I WOULD RATHER TALK TO SOME OF YOU AND RECIEVE INSTANT RESPONSE IS THERE CHAT ROOM ON THIS SITE?

On Mar 3, 2000

Darlene, the only reason I replied to your post was the "just wash your hands and supervise" comment supporting why you think there should not be a ban. I wanted to promote awareness of the P.A. children that are also "airborne" allergic. Public school is not an option for so many reasons I won't go into so I do not have a local superintend. to organize a special emergency school board meeting so a special teacher's aide can be hired to supervise my child. Your are very fortune in that respect. My request for any pair of eyes to supervise at lunch was turned down. By accepting this, I feel they think they are taking responsibility, hence, responsibility might mean liability. Like I said, I don't live in your world. I feel I can trust her only to eat or drink what I give her but quite simply she can not be in the same environment with peanuts (either in the lunch room or class room). No parent of a p.a. child wants their child to eat separate from the other kids or feel different, but their safety comes first. You're lucky your child is not "airborne" allergic. You raise an interesting point as to whether I should pursue this to a higher level (not just deal with the principal). I had already planned on purchasing the school info. packet from FAN and was going to request it be presentedly at a faculty meeting. This info. should also be presented to the school board and Arch Diocese. Thank you for your input.

On Mar 6, 2000

From the South, what part of the South are you from? I just moved to the South and was curious. (Your personal profile did not say).

Secondly, my heart goes out to you also. I'm going through similar thing now trying to register my daughter for Kindergarten and am hoping for the best?! I met with great resistance regarding the preschools down here so I hope things look up.

Good luck!

On Mar 10, 2000

For what this is worth, I think it is more important to ban peanuts from pre-k through say...third grade. The younger kids cannot read labels and are under the supervision of teachers who "have been educated about pa," who "understand what to do," and who STILL do the 'ol poison butter pine cone trick! Maybe if manufactures were made to clean equipment after PB products were made, this would not be a problem. Either a snack is PB or it is not, no traces here and traces there! It's late, good night! andrea

On Mar 11, 2000

I read this strand with great interest and much concern. We MUST NOT faction ourselves like this, rather join efforts and realize we are all in this together and that some of us are "luckier" than others (children unaffected by airborne), etc.

What's worse is we are arguing different points of view, much like the abortion debate. Neither side can "win" because you're not arguing the same point at all.

I recently read a teacher's magazine with an article "Don't Ban Peanuts." The SERIOUS problem with this article was the author's view that peanut allergies are more "annoying than life threatening". She later quoted Ann of FAN. I believe there was miscommunication during the interview - rather than reasons why some children are more prone than others, the author inferred that it's only a problem for a very small number of PA children. I'm sure we can ALL agree that this allergy is much more than just annoying, right?

My point is this: in defending one side or the other on the peanut ban issue, be sure you are not undermining the severity of the allergy in all cases. And please, let's not argue with each other over whose child has it better or worse and most importantly, let's avoid gloating if we are among the "luckier" ones.

For what it's worth, my son is 3+ which means he is severely allergic but not to airborne. I'm worried sick about him starting kindergarten this year but the thing that worries me most is the lack of education and recently the apparent misunderstanding that this may not be a serious allergy after all. If you have a child who is not airborne-allergic, may I suggest educating others on not only how your child might react but also that there are many children who react worse. I always tell people that my son could die from touching or ingesting, but there are also many pa children who react to the smell. This jolts people into realizing HOW severe it can be. That's the point!!!!!

On Jun 1, 2001

Thought I would bring this up as there have been some recent posts about FAAN.

It seems as if some of the newer members on the board were not aware that in the past, we have expressed some STRONG opinions on a "peanut ban" and "a false sense of security"

Sue in Sunny Arizona

On Jun 1, 2001

Sue, I think that Cindy in particular will appreciate this! (Since she's been suspected of "stirring" this particular pot lately this is a good thread to raise since it shows that she didn't really "start" all this!)

For what its worth, I can tell you all(and maybe I should tell FAAN)that although my daughter has life-threatening reactions to both pn and to egg. When examining food labels for my child, egg is actually somewhat MORE difficult to avoid than peanuts, believe it or not! I do not worry so about the egg, nor do I request that eggs/egg products be excluded from her environment. But I would really like a peanut butter and nut restriction in place in the lowest grades where children are least likely to understand cause and effect. (pK-3)

Peanut butter *is* very different from other allergens! It is oily and sticky and very high in protein, and it just plain doesn't go away on surfaces. OK, to get rid of it, dissolve it and wipe it away. This is pretty simple chemistry, actually: like dissolves like. Try kerosene or an industrial detergent. Plain soap and water is going to require many many passes to be successful. Bleach? As a chemist, you have my word that I seriously doubt this works other than to oxidize the exposed protein (Underlying unoxidized residue could still be a major problem). Of course, bleach is probably chosen because it hides the smell of PB so well. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] By the way, no child "MUST" devour this substance near my daughter. I openly defy anyone anywhere to show me the child who has a medical NEED for pb. My daughter has a medical need to *not* have it, however. We are not talking about boarding schools, are we?? They can eat the d*** stuff at home. Even vegan parents can quite readily find other inexpensive protein sources. I find the earlier statement that PB be offered as an "alternative" lunch for those that don't *want* the primary option pretty much outrageous. My kid eats what there is, or she doesn't- just the same as I did. There has yet to be a medical study which shows that even kids fed *only* things they don't like will voluntarily starve themselves. LOL! Yes, PB is quite tasty- love the stuff myself. But it is not worth anyone's life.

(With a severely dairy allergic child, I would make the same argument about soft cheeses for the same reasons, BTW.)

On Jun 1, 2001

Corvallis mom,

I did indeed bring this thread back up because Cindy was getting such a rough time. She is such a strong supporter of this board, Chris, and all of us that I thought she might need a little help on this one.

Funny how things go in circles - this was a hot subject a while back and here it is again today!

Anyway, my daughter is PA and has a severe egg allergy - she has grown out of her tomato allergy. Seems like a fair number of PA kids are allergic to eggs. But I guess that is a whole other topic.

Sue in Sunny Arizona - It's just about as hot here in Arizona as it is getting in some of the topics on pa.com [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img]

[This message has been edited by Sue (edited October 28, 2001).]

On Jun 4, 2001

My 2 yr old is wheat, egg, dairy, peanut and tree nut allergic. Based on how things have gone at school with my 6 yr. old (non allergic) son I must ask----WHY MUST THERE BE FOOD IN THE CLASSROOM AT ALL??????? They constantly had parties w/snacks, games using food, classwork using food and projects using food.........AGGHGHHH!!! I'm not saying I would be for a school ban (seeing as how that would be very hard to monitor as well as impossible to have them not serve any wheat, egg, dairy, nuts foods) but WHY IN THE CLASSROOM??

Just my input! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] tkiamly

On Jun 4, 2001

Sue, thank goodness! It was before I was a member that anyone DARED to question FAAN's stance! Thank-you SO much for re-raising this thread, because I did feel really awful that people were attacking me personally for raising what I thought was an innocent question. I now realize I could have titled the post differently - FAAN doesn't advocate at all, really.

I understand people wanting their children to live in the "real" world, yadda yadda, but if your child is going to have a reaction because they HAVE to sit beside a child eating a pb sandwich, I'm sorry. Do you put your child through numerous years of he** because you don't state your requirements to the school? Do they suffer reaction after reaction because of a bloody pb sandwich?

I'm sorry - to whoever posted about what would low income students be provided to eat if they couldn't have the pb that was supplied to the school - B/S! If you simply look at the Safe Snack and Lunch List I posted on this board around last August or September, there are a whole list of foods there that show you how much protein you can get by eating say, a simple cup of yoghurt instead.

The literature I posted in the "other" thread was from AAIA and it CLEARLY states that for children who are young (and for me, it's not because they can't read labels - my son most definitely can), it is safer for them to be in "peanut free" environments.

To canada who posted about the different difficulties and troubles associated with "peanut free" schools, etc., I would also have the same swear word remark. C'mon, now! My son does have a "peanut free" classroom. There are "peanut free" schools in communities very close to me that I am actually thinking of having his bused to if things don't work out with his current school. We have these things in place and our children have the RIGHT to them.

I love whoever posted that said that they, themselves, as the non-PA parent chooses not to sit beside someone eating pb and they are an adult. What about our children if they had no choice?

False sense of security? For who? Does being a PA parent mean that you also have IDIOT stamped on your forehead? NO!

And then, the whole thing for me is, I'm really not clear what it is I do require for Jesse. He does have a "peanut free" classroom which I had implemented based on his school board policy. He has the "right" to this. If he hadn't, I'm not sure that I would have sent him to school until I legally had to. My son has almost died!

I have been very fortunate in that he will be finishing two years of school (2 days one week, 3 the next) without having a reaction. I have questioned on this board if perhaps he hasn't had a contact reaction because of his daily dose of antihistamine.

Would I love Jesse to be attending a "peanut free" school? Certainly! Do I require it? I am not clear. For me, it's learning how to deal with the school all over again as he moves into Grade One where I know he will be going throughout the school more (although he does go to the library, gym, another class, and science already now).

We have a new school opening here that Jesse is supposed to be attending this fall and rather than the children eating in their classes, I have heard that we may actually have a cafeteria. I'm concerned about that.

Would Jesse be sitting alone at his table? Probably not. Why? Because he has had 20 classmates that have had "peanut free" lunches/snacks for the past two years. Are they suddenly going to go on a peanut craze at the age of 6 and not want to sit with their friend? Possible perhaps (and of course, I'll be in here posting with my sad smilie face if that does happen).

This is a very heated thing and I can well understand why I got totally creamed and personally attacked in the "other" thread.

Bottom line re FAAN. I guess if you want someone to advocate on your behalf if you WANT a "peanut free" environment for your child, don't look to them for help. Advocate on behalf of yourself with the wealth of literature (please see Duty of Care just posted under Schools) available and they can just sit back and come up with strange reasons (to me anyway) of why they don't support a ban and provide the great educational materials that they do.

Sue, again, thank-you!

Best wishes! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

------------------

On Jun 4, 2001

Cindy,

You always make me smile - thank you!

Sue in Sunny Arizona

On Jun 8, 2001

And we definitely need to ask Ms Furlong (FAAN's founder and CEO) to "explain" her $14,000 grant from the Peanut Foundation "to show peanut bans do not work." It also appears that additional funding was taking for "educating" us all about this postion.

This grant is being discussed in the following thread in Main Discussion.

[url="http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum1/HTML/001685.html"]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum1/HTML/001685.html[/url]

Please let's "Take Action" on this when the ConAgra item is completed!

[This message has been edited by EILEEN (edited June 08, 2001).]

On Jun 18, 2001

This link will take you to a thread started by FAAN's Medical Advisory Board where they have responded to issue of granting sources.

[url="http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum1/HTML/001712.html"]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/Forum1/HTML/001712.html[/url]

On Jul 5, 2001

(edited), if you are comfortable with the idea could you please post Anne's reponse here so that we can read in her own words what her position is (so of us-me included-have never received a reply from FAAN on this issue).

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