Letter to FAN on Peanut Ban

Posted on: Mon, 01/10/2000 - 6:49am
Anne Parrish's picture
Joined: 01/06/2000 - 09:00

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
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

Posted on: Mon, 01/10/2000 - 8:37am
bakermom's picture
Joined: 11/30/1999 - 09:00

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.

Posted on: Thu, 01/13/2000 - 1:49pm
Mary Kay's picture
Joined: 01/25/1999 - 09:00

Can you post FAN's reply?
Mary Kay

Posted on: Fri, 01/14/2000 - 6:25am
Anne Parrish's picture
Joined: 01/06/2000 - 09:00

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.

Posted on: Sat, 01/15/2000 - 1:34am
bakermom's picture
Joined: 11/30/1999 - 09:00

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

Posted on: Sun, 02/06/2000 - 12:21pm
katiee's picture
Joined: 05/09/2001 - 09:00

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!

Posted on: Mon, 02/07/2000 - 5:01am
EILEEN's picture
Joined: 04/06/1999 - 09:00

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?

Posted on: Mon, 02/07/2000 - 2:02pm
Chris PeanutAllergy Com's picture
Joined: 04/25/2001 - 09:00

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,

Posted on: Tue, 02/08/2000 - 3:19am
Greg's picture
Joined: 01/16/1999 - 09:00

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.

Posted on: Tue, 02/08/2000 - 9:58am
cautious mom's picture
Joined: 03/07/1999 - 09:00

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

Posted on: Tue, 02/08/2000 - 11:36am
dhumphries's picture
Joined: 02/02/1999 - 09:00

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.


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