USDA Requirement: has anyone submitted Special Dietary form?

Posted on: Sun, 03/25/2007 - 5:05am
SusieT-R's picture
Joined: 09/25/2002 - 09:00

The USDA requires public schools to provide a nut-free lunch if a Special Dietary needs form is submitted and signed by your doctor. Has anyone done this as a means to force their district to train the cafeteria staff in cross contamination issues? We have done so. HAve any others? Has your experience been positive? Our district wants to make it as unpleasant as possible---please share.

Posted on: Sun, 03/25/2007 - 5:23am
chanda4's picture
Joined: 12/14/2006 - 09:00

I haven't because there is always an alternative when they do serve pb&j Uncrustables. They serve them on Monday's, so on Monday's the kids can choose from the pb Uncrustables, pizza or they already provided a substitute. Now with my milk alelrgic son, those choices woudn't be safe for him, so I could do one of these forms to make the school provide him with something he *could* eat...but honestly....I'm just going to pack a lunch for him. I pick my battles and for his safety, the cold lunch is more in my control. Maybe as he gets older we could request the USDA form, but what in the world would they make that doesn't contain milk, soy, egg, beef or pork(and we're not sure about peanuts yet).....pick my battle!
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: Sun, 03/25/2007 - 5:53am
SusieT-R's picture
Joined: 09/25/2002 - 09:00

I know what you mean about picking your battle!
We decided to submit the form only after very careful consideration. One reason was that it became apparent last year that although the cafeteria manager was reading labels because she had learned to care about the issue--food allergy was not a high agenda item for the rest of the district despite growing numbers of students with FA's. At least 10 in each school. So, despite numerous calls for the high level administration to address the concerns of the growing numbers of food allergic students, nothing was being done--just lip service. We realized that our child would be a "test" case to see how well they responded should they be forced to do so.
The form was presented and a line was added to the 504 stating they would provide a nut-free lunch-- and nothing happpend--not for months!... Despite many conversations and emails asking that they comply.
Finally, we contacted the DOE --the DOE then contacted the school and all of a sudden wouldn't you know, they were planning a nut-free menu! (the nut-free menu is NOT the regular school menu--some districts do get rid of the nuts from the MAIN menu of ingredients and feed everyone the same stuff after undergoing a course in cross-contamination--but our district just created a very limited, very unappetizing menu that is referred to as "Nut-free").
The district is playing hardball in that they are quite unpleasant when asked any questions about how the menu is created, and whether we can add anything (like ketchup for a hot dog etc)(why the hash browns are mush--turns out they will not brown them they way the other children's foods are browned)--and although it is stressful, it is a start in the right direction. AT least now we know if ever there were an emergency (and the schools do prepare for shelter-in-place (and FAAN addresses this issue too) and our child had to be fed a meal(s) at school, there would be a meal that I am very confident would be safe for her (and not just yogurt--she doesn't eat it because she was dairy allergic for so long--she just can't "go" there!).
Any one else gone ahead with submission?

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