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.

03 November 2009

To Make a School More Allergy Friendly

I am well-acquainted with our elementary school at this point, with one child half-way through elementary school. My younger child--the one with the peanut allergy--is in half-day kindergarten (does not lunch at school) and I can no longer sit quietly after reading the school lunch menus. School began in August and I made it to November without commenting. Today, I sent a very brief and friendly email to our food services director suggesting that perhaps our town should follow the example set by nearby school systems and replace PB & J with Sunbutter & J at the elementary schools. I am aware many people love PB & J and I don't intend to suggest we prevent students from bringing it from home, merely that the cafeteria cease serving it. Fingers crossed.



Anonymous said...

The friednly you are, the more persistant you are, the better. Many schools have food service contracts which often set menus years earlier - so don't expect a quick change. If you look at the little data outthere, kids are not going anaphylactic from other children spreding peanut butter , they are getting hurt from incorrect use or no use of EPI Pens. I have found teaching and even demanding adults know how to use the pens, know the signs of allergic reaction and having separte food allergy tables in the cafeteria and keeping all food out of the classroom is the first fight, then hopefully someone at your school will finally understand that getting rid of peanut butter makes their lives easier. Unfortunately, it only takes one child anaphylactic to milk that undo the anti-peanut rules! Good luck - it did work at one of my child's school, but not another...

Katie said...

I think that is an amazing idea and I'd bet that the majority of the kids would not even know the difference when eating their sandwich!

I know PB&J is served in our school cafeterias in Duxbury, but I believe the sandwich comes prepackaged, so that at least the cafeteria prep area remains peanut free and there is no chance for cross contamination. Of course, the lunch tables are another story....

Unknown said...

I think that is a fantastic idea. I haven't pursued it at my son's school, as their pb&j sandwich's are those premade circle sandwich's. But I may have to give it a try...nothing ventured, nothing gained. The worst that can be said is no. What about getting in touch with your local representative?

ZM said...

Hmm. Tricky.

The Eldest's school has peanuts (and yep, there's a difference between peanut and sunbutter!), but the Toddles' school does not. And the director at that preschool is marvellously sneaky: on the visiting school days, put out an array of snacks - corn thins, apple slices, cereal, Sunbutter and jams.
All Toddle-friendly (GF, egg-free, etc)and coincidentally, Eldest-friendly (tree/peanut-free, dairy-free, etc, etc).

Kids tried 'em when they got hungry - and ate happily.

Maybe you have to start young? I do think that some soynut butters are a closer match in flavor and texture than the seedier flavored, thinner Sunbutter. They might be another option.

But whatever and however, go mama! for trying, advocating and looking to work with the school. Nothing happens if we don't try, right?