With an eye on the food allergy community as a unique group of consumers since 2008, we're on a quest to find and share ways to continue enjoying the good things in life.

24 August 2008

Eating at School with Non-Peanut Allergies

I often say our family is fortunate in that we only need to avoid peanuts and tree nuts.  A nearby friend has a child severely allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, and milk.  Although her son is not school age yet, she is concerned about how he will fare at school.  How will the school accommodate his milk allergy? Currently, our elementary school has students with peanut, tree nut and sesame allergies, a few with shellfish and fish allergies, and one with an allergy to strawberries. The peanut, tree nut and sesame allergic children sit at one table, and the others appear able to sit at the “regular” tables.  I wonder what they will do with the milk allergic child when the time comes.  Peanut Free Mama discussed the peanut-free/allergy lunch table a few months ago and received a number of interesting comments.  

School lunch with a milk allergy can be particularly tricky because school children mostly drink milk at lunch and, let’s face it, they spill their milk frequently.  Nearly every day last year, my first grader would share stories about lunchtime.  I heard tales of kids touching other kids’ lunches, spitting food and drinks out (sometimes on other kids or their lunches), spilling their lunches, eating each other’s lunches, and buying and sharing snacks.  It’s amazing we do not hear of more allergy disasters occurring at lunchtime.

I’d like to pick your brains a little.  I am seeking some insight from those of you experienced with multiple food allergies at school and especially milk allergy. Can you shed some light on how it works (or doesn’t!) at your school?

  • How does your school accommodate the different food allergies at lunch and snack time?
  • What plans do they have in place to prevent food allergic reactions?
  • How do they manage severe milk allergy?
  • Are you satisfied with the way your school manages non-peanut allergies at lunch and snack time?
  • What changes would you implement to improve your school’s management of food allergies at snack and lunch time?
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