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.

12 September 2011

Free and Reduced Lunch at School - Food Allergy Friendly?

I have two children in elementary school--one of whom has life threatening allergies to peanuts and nuts--and they do not buy school lunches. The school does not prepare food containing peanuts or peanut butter anymore, but the cafeteria sells Smuckers Uncrustables peanut butter and jelly.  Sometimes as a "treat", my older son--who has no food allergies--may buy lunch at school, but the younger, food allergic child never does. Bringing a bag lunch with food that we routinely use and know to be safe is just such a simple way to avoid cross-contamination and other risks.

Families and individuals with food allergies know there is an extra cost to purchasing food allergy friendly or "safe" foods. We're limited to certain brands, sometimes made by specialty companies or in allergen-free facilities, and the prices of those foods are simply higher than other foods. Families who receive Food Stamps/SNAP, however, are eligible to buy free and reduced lunch, which can amount to significant savings for a family food budget. I am curious to know how much of the food at our school really would be suitable and "safe" for my peanut and nut-allergic son. Have you investigated the school lunch options at your school? How food allergy friendly are the lunches at your child's school? If your food allergic child were eligible for free or reduced lunches at school, would he or she be able to eat it, from a food allergy standpoint? Or do free and reduced lunches not really work for food allergic kids?

What do you think?

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