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#1 of 60 Old 07-21-2012, 09:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My sister has had lots of issues with the public school her kids attend and their peanut allergy policies. Her older child is allergic to dairy. At school peanuts and products made in facilities that manufacture other peanut products are banned. They have a classroom snack every day, each kid is expected to bring their own snack and those snacks can only come from the approved list. She asked me for suggestions on what to say to the school to try and get the polices to budge and I'm at a loss. The school where our older children attend has no allergy restrictions so I'm not familiar with it.

 

No homemade foods, foods packaged at home, or foods without labels or in broken packaging are allowed. Whole fruit is allowed and must be rinsed at school (that's ok, no big deal). Of course whole fruit is difficult for a child with no front teeth to consume without a way to cut it so I'm not sure how often that would happen. I'm not sure how they can be sure the outside of the packages coming from home are free of nut residue but that's how it is. 

 

Last year the issue was that peanuts were allowed in the cafeteria (they still are) but were not allowed on the bus (they eventually allowed lunch boxes to be put in big ziploc bags and only opened/closed in the cafeteria). Last year the child with the allergy and my niece were not in the same classroom so it wasn't a problem with class snacks. 

 

Basically, she wants the school to allow foods that are not on the approved snack list but that specifically say do not contain peanuts/tree nuts/sesame and were not made in a facility that processes those foods to be allowed. She needs things that are dairy free (trace amount are fine). 

 

She would like to be able to send individually packaged and labeled almond butter, already sliced fresh fruits and veggies (she has offered to get a dedicated peanut free cutting board, knife, and tupperware set), lactose free beef jerky, rice cakes with honey, and prepackaged lara bars (the peanut free ones) or other similar bars,

 

I'm not sure what else to tell her about it. I'm not sure why these foods were picked.

 

 

 

 

This is from the school with my commentary in bold face. 

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This is the list as it is:

 

We have snack daily at 9:00; students are often hungry and eager to munch and work at this time.  You may help us out by either providing your own child a snack or giving your child snack to share with everyone.  Students love to bring snack to share almost as much as they enjoy getting something different or special. 

Please keep in mind that we have a student who is allergic to peanuts.  When purchasing snacks or birthday treats for a school event, try to be thoughtful in your choices.  Avoid snacks that contain peanuts, peanut flour, and peanut oil.

Cereal/Bars

  • General Mills
    • Cinnamon Toast Crunch  ---->really super junky food
    • Kix, Berry Berry Kix ---------> again, really sugary and with artificial colors added
    • Lucky Charms ----------> not a healthy snack in any way
    • Rice Chex, ------------> I guess the best of the bunch but doesn't offer anything decides refined carbs
    • Corn Chen----------->tolerable but what kids wants a bunch of dry corn chex
    • Wheat Chex-----------> tolerable until a child with problems with gluten gets this lest
    • Trix------------> lots and lots of sugar and lots and lots of artificial food colorings
  • Kellogg's CerealsI think what went for general mills applies here too
    • Corn Pops
    • Crispix
    • Fruit Loops
    • Post Alpha Bits
    • Quaker Cap 'N Crunch
  • Nutri-Grain - (Apple, Blueberry, Raspberry)
  • Nutri-Grain Twist - (Banana & Strawberry, Strawberries & Cream)
  • Post
    • Honey Combs

Cheese/Dairy

  • Sargento --------> would be healthy but contains dairy
  • Mootown Snacks - (Cheeze & Pretzels, Cheeze & Crackers, Cheeze & Sticks)
  • Yogurt
  • Go-Gurt, Drinkables
  • Other Cheeses
  • Sliced, cubed, shredded, string cheese, cream cheese, spreads, dips

Crackers/Chips/Cookies

  • Austin------------> everything on this list is unhealthy refined carbohydrates, a few contain dairy but they're just overall unhealthy
  • Zoo Animal Crackers
  • Betty Crocker
  • Cinnamon Graham Cookies
  • Dunk Aroos
  • Sprinkled Vanilla Frosting
  • Frito Lay
  • Cheetos - Crunch, Zigzag, Puffs
  • Rold Gold Pretzels
  • Sun Chips - Original, Sour Cream, Cheddar, Classic, Flavored
  • General Mills
  • Bugles - Original
  • Keebler
  • Bite Size Snackin Grahams - Cinnamon, Chocolate
  • Elf Grahams - Honey, Cinnamon
  • Fudge Stripes Shortbread Cookies
  • Golden Vanilla Wafers
  • Grasshopper Mint Cookies
  • New Rainbow Vanilla Wafers
  • Munch'ems - Sour Cream & Onion, Original, Ranch, Cheddar
  • Snack Stix
  • Sugar Wafers
  • Toasteds - Wheat, Buttercrisp
  • Town House Classic Crackers
  • Wheatables - Original, Honey Wheat, Seven Grain
  • Kraft
  • Handi-Snacks - Cheez 'N Crackers, Apple Dippers, Cheez 'N Pretzels
  • Handi-Snacks Teddy Grahams - Honey, Chocolate
  • Crackers/Chips/Cookies continued
  • Nabisco
  • Air Crisps
  • Potato - Sour Cream & Onion, Ranch, Barbeque, Cheddar
  • Pretzel - Original
  • Ritz - Original
  • Wheat Thins - Original, Ranch
  • Barnum Animal Crackers
  • Cheddar Sportz
  • Cheese Nips
  • Dizzy Grizzlies - Vanilla Frosted, Chocolate Frosted
  • Graham Crackers - Honey Maid, Cinnamon, Chocolate
  • Newtons - Fig, Cobblers, Raspberry, Apple
  • Ritz Crackers - Original
  • Saltine Crackers
  • Teddy Cheddy
  • Teddy Grahams - Cinnamon, Chocolatey Chip, Chocolate, Honey
  • Triscuits, Triscuit Thin Crisps
  • Wheat Thins
  • Old Dutch
  • Baked Cheez Curls
  • Chips
  • Crunchy Curls
  • Pretzels
  • Pepperidge Farm
  • Butter Thins
  • Goldfish - any flavor
  • Goldfish Graham Snacks - Honey, Cinnamon, Golden
  • Pringles
  • Any flavor
  • Sunshine
  • Big Cheez-It
  • Cheez-It - Regular, Reduced Fat
  • Hi Ho Crackers - Regular, Reduced Fat
  •  
  •  
  • Fruit -----------> whole fruit, difficult for kids to eat
  • Fresh
  • - Apples, Bananas, Oranges 
    Packaged Fruit junky and processed
  • - Apple Sauce, Apple Sauce mixes, Diced Pears, Peaches, Raisins, Mandarin Oranges 
    Fruit Snacks ok but some contain a lot of sweeteners

 

 

 

 

 

  • - Fruit Roll Ups, Fruit by the Foot, Fun Fruit 
    Jell-O and Pudding Snacks
  • Popcorn  ---------> plain air popped would be ok but it has to be pre package so they'll all have dairy or wil be unhealthy
  • Barrel O'Fun
  • Corn Pops (No Kernels)
  • Frito Lay
  • Cheddar Cheese
  • Chester's Popcorn Butter
  • Old Dutch Popcorn
  • Carmel PuffCorns, Cheddar, White, White Cheddar
  •  
  •  
  • Vegetables ------------> yes, no problem, great 
  • Fresh Carrot Sticks, Celery Sticks great

 

  • Special Treats--------> every one of these is incredible unhealthy with the exception of the whole fruit bars but bring ing a single popsicle to school every day is a little unpractical 
  • Cakes/Cupcakes
  • Cub Foods Bakery, Kowalski's Bakery, Sam's Club Bakery
  • White, Chocolate, Marble Cakes
  • Candy
  • Air Heads Rolos
  • Dum Dum Pops Runts
  • Gum Drops Shock Tarts
  • Hershey Kisses - Milk Chocolate, Extra Creamy Sixlets
  • Jolly Ranchers Skittles
  • Junior Mints Smarties
  • Life Savers Spree
  • Lollipops Starburst
  • Mike & Ikes Sugar Babies
  • Milk Duds Sweet Tarts
  • Nerds Tootsie Pops
  • Oompas Tootsie Rolls
  • Ring Pops Twizzlers
  • Cookies/Donuts
  • Cub Foods Bakery
  • Donuts/Donut Holes - Glazed, Powdered Sugar, Sugar
  • Sugar Cookies
  • Kowalski's Bakery
  • Iced Sugar Cookies
  • Donut Holes - Plain, Glazed
  • Ice Cream/Frozen Treats
  • Edy's
  • Whole Fruit Bars
  • FlaVorIce -
  • "Freezies"
  • Good Humor Popsicles
  • Sherbet Cyclone
  • Icee
  • - Squeeze up tubes
  • Italian Ice
  • Kemps
  • Fudge Bars - Regular and Junior Size
  • Ice Cream Bars
  • Ice Cream Cups
  • Ice Cream Sandwiches - Regular, Mint Chocolate Chip
  • Twin Pops - Any flavor
  • What's Up Orange Sherbet Treats
  • Klondike
  • Oreo Ice Cream Sandwiches
  • Minute Maid
  • Soft Frozen Lemonade
  • Polar Express
  • Ice Cream Sandwiches
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#2 of 60 Old 07-21-2012, 09:43 PM
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It looks like someone came up with a list of things that were peanut free and that list has been passed on as a list of acceptable classroom snacks.  It can be handy to have a list of peanut-free convenience foods, though as you point out, most of these are pretty junky and not what you want your child eating on a daily basis.  And the list hasn't caught up with the dairy allergy.

 

Your sister's best bet is to join the PTO and encourage that organization to include nutrition in their agenda.  The USDA has been working to get schools to provide healthier school lunches.  School snacks should, ideally, come into line with this.  Making this change happen will probably require some dedicated parent volunteers.  Someone needs to provide the school and the teachers with a list of allergy-safe, healthy snacks, and with ways to serve them in the classroom.  Parents need some education on what these foods are, and how to send them to school in a way that makes it likely they will be eaten.  Meanwhile, she could send:

 

carrots

celery

other raw veggies

unsweetened dried fruit

crackers with sunflower seed butter

sliced fruit (sprinkle apples with lemon juice to prevent browning)

berries

 

I'm struggling to come up with a protein that is easy to transport and serve, is appealing to children, does not require refrigeration, contains no nuts or dairy, and is not super-high in sodium).  Maybe someone else will have a suggestion there. 
 

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#3 of 60 Old 07-22-2012, 04:29 AM
 
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Hi there. Individual classrooms at my child's elementary school have ended up coming up with similar lists. My son and several other children all have peanut and nut allergies.

 

Even individually packaged almond butter would not be permitted in the nut free classrooms at our school, but since the cafeteria has an "allergy table" at lunch, that would be and probably is allowed at lunch. In your sister's case, cut up fruit presents a problem only because they say it has to be something the children can share. I am betting no one wants to take the risk and permit cut up fruit in case it was cut using a utensil or surface that has cross-contamination with peanuts/nuts (as she knows since she's ready to use peanut-free items). Homemade baked goods present the same problem. It is just too risky. I don't ever buy cut fruit at the grocery store for this reason. 

 

Are grapes on the list? That's another good finger food/fruit.

 

I have to say, sharing of food is discouraged at our elementary school. Children can bring in "may contains" foods, depending on how vigilant and risk-averse the teacher is, and they can bring in cut up fruit. I'm not sure I agree with the policy at your sister's school, but I do understand it. I hope they will shift positions and discourage sharing so each child can bring healthy foods, such as cut up fruit, for his or her own diet. I don't blame your sister for being frustrated. That's very restrictive and I think unnecessarily so.

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#4 of 60 Old 07-22-2012, 06:29 AM
 
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My kids haven't struggled with fruit when missing front teeth. Even so, grapes, bananas, berries, clementines, etc are all easy to eat no matter what. I would even send an orange prescored to make it easy to peel. My kids will also eat whole carrots and raw green beans, which I think also complies with the rules you've posted.

The district is supposed to have a Wellness policy that covers everything from snacks and food at class parties, to exercise at recess. Many are the bare minimum of the federal mandate, but you can at least alert your school that you're paying attention by asking for it. Some people have found that the district handed the task off to a go-getter PTA parent who wrote something with teeth.
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#5 of 60 Old 07-22-2012, 10:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Geofizz View Post

My kids haven't struggled with fruit when missing front teeth. Even so, grapes, bananas, berries, clementines, etc are all easy to eat no matter what. I would even send an orange prescored to make it easy to peel. My kids will also eat whole carrots and raw green beans, which I think also complies with the rules you've posted.
The district is supposed to have a Wellness policy that covers everything from snacks and food at class parties, to exercise at recess. Many are the bare minimum of the federal mandate, but you can at least alert your school that you're paying attention by asking for it. Some people have found that the district handed the task off to a go-getter PTA parent who wrote something with teeth.

Nothing can be precut, scored, anything. An orange couldn't be started and carrots couldn't be peeled. The snack is the only thing to eat from breakfast before the bus picks them up at 7:45 and lunch at 11:40 so it needs to be reasonably filling (not just some grapes or berries, although those are good ideas). Berries, grapes, cherry tomatoes, and other small easy to eat fruits and veggies are often expensive, especially during the winter and it would take a lot of them to satisfy a kid who hasn't eaten anything in a couple hours and won't have lunch for a few more hours. Any little individually labeled food is going to be expensive anyway so maybe it would even out. It kind of irritates me that she has to find extra money for groceries to accommodate all these rules. 

 

Jennifer - The classroom/school is only peanut free but other nuts are ok but, of course, other nuts are expensive. A single serve packet of peanut butter is all of 25¢ while the same packet of almond butter is 99¢. I understand the need to keep allergic kids healthy but what about the needs of other kids to have an affordable reasonably healthy snack?

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#6 of 60 Old 07-22-2012, 10:17 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by stik View Post

It looks like someone came up with a list of things that were peanut free and that list has been passed on as a list of acceptable classroom snacks.  It can be handy to have a list of peanut-free convenience foods, though as you point out, most of these are pretty junky and not what you want your child eating on a daily basis.  And the list hasn't caught up with the dairy allergy.

 

Your sister's best bet is to join the PTO and encourage that organization to include nutrition in their agenda.  The USDA has been working to get schools to provide healthier school lunches.  School snacks should, ideally, come into line with this.  Making this change happen will probably require some dedicated parent volunteers.  Someone needs to provide the school and the teachers with a list of allergy-safe, healthy snacks, and with ways to serve them in the classroom.  Parents need some education on what these foods are, and how to send them to school in a way that makes it likely they will be eaten.  Meanwhile, she could send:

 

carrots

celery

other raw veggies

unsweetened dried fruit

crackers with sunflower seed butter

sliced fruit (sprinkle apples with lemon juice to prevent browning)

berries

 

I'm struggling to come up with a protein that is easy to transport and serve, is appealing to children, does not require refrigeration, contains no nuts or dairy, and is not super-high in sodium).  Maybe someone else will have a suggestion there. 
 

 

I appreciate the suggestions but not everyone has the time to join organizations, I think elementary schools only encompassing a few grades makes change difficult because parents know that by the time their hard work pays off their kids will be in a different school and they'll have to start over. 

 

 


carrots - only expensive baby carrots in individual bags would be allowed, not very filling without something else too

celery - again, only individual little bags at 5x the price of whole

other raw veggies - not sure which but few come in individual labeled servings or are small enough when completely whole for a child to eat, snow peas come to mind but they're pricy 

unsweetened dried fruit - raisins are reasonably priced as are cranberries but packages with their labels get expensive, big packages for kids to grab a handful of everyday are 'shared' (doled out to kids who didn't bring a snack) 

crackers with sunflower seed butter - the only approved crackers are junky, sunflower seed butter doesn't make the list and it's expensive

sliced fruit (sprinkle apples with lemon juice to prevent browning) - could only be those little packs of pre sliced fruit

berries - good but expensive and not filling on their own

 

I don't mean to just knock down all these suggestions but it's impossible to find something healthy from this list that is also dairy free. Any ideas on how to get the school to allow other snacks?

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#7 of 60 Old 07-22-2012, 10:26 AM
 
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That's a horrible list. If I had to pick from it I'd send pretzels and fresh fruit or raisins. My kids have had no trouble with bananas, mandarin/clementine oranges, raisins, berries or grapes when missing front teeth. I think you're over-estimating the difficulty there. I also don't think it would take a ton of product and expense to satisfy a child's caloric needs with these things. A half cup of grapes or a small box of raisins and five pretzels would have a lot more calories than a Nutrigrain bar. 

 

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#8 of 60 Old 07-22-2012, 10:33 AM
 
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Originally Posted by elus0814 View Post

 

I appreciate the suggestions but not everyone has the time to join organizations, I think elementary schools only encompassing a few grades makes change difficult because parents know that by the time their hard work pays off their kids will be in a different school and they'll have to start over. 

 

But the thing is, that's how you get things changed.  You can't fight 'em, you can only join 'em.  I think her choice is to accept it as is, or to work from within to improve the situation.

 

I personally take issue with the pervasive sense that children can't go from 7:30 am to noon without a snack.  It takes some getting used to and is helped with a high protein breakfast, but it's not hard.  If we're talking about kids without front teeth here, they're not preschoolers. 

 

If your sister can't or won't join the relevant groups in the school to make a change and the school will continue with communal snacks, it seems her only option is to tell her kids to decline the snack.

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I think she should send a letter stating her concerns about the unreasonable food list and expense caused by the list and ask that they either allow food that is on the list but not prepackaged or they set aside a table for children who have food not on the list to sit at. I also don't see the problem with having a quick whole fruit as a snack. Snack is supposed to be a light food that keeps you through until mealtime, not a filling meal in itself. Ime kids eat better at mealtimes, where food tends to be healthier, when they haven't just filled up on snack two hours before.

Is it possible for the kids to eat the school breakfast after getting off the bus. This might take a lot of her worry away about price and them having too much time between meals. They probably qualify for free or reduced lunch, the income cutoff is much higher than I thought it would be because they use more modern calculations not the cutoff from 70 years ago that some agencies use.
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#10 of 60 Old 07-22-2012, 11:14 AM
 
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how about a couple hard boiled eggs?
 


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#11 of 60 Old 07-22-2012, 11:19 AM
 
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and i have never had "snack time" in school. i think something small should be just fine. 


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#12 of 60 Old 07-22-2012, 02:48 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elus0814 View Post

 I understand the need to keep allergic kids healthy but what about the needs of other kids to have an affordable reasonably healthy snack?

mama if you had a nut allergy child you would not be saying this. i am so grateful the school is soooo careful about this subject. dd's school is too, but not to this degree. fi they were perhaps some of those kids could actually come to school.

 

people are so so so misinformed or underinformed with any allergy issue that yeah i would not OK anything from home. 

 

could ur sister do a similar list from a store she would buy things from? 

 

however i will say i am surprised they even get snack time in school (not talking about preschool). ever since first grade children who need to have snack have to have special permission to eat a snack at break time. maybe 2 or 3 kids in a class of 35 4th graders eat snack. dd has not eaten a snack from 7:45 to 11:45. she ussually got a good solid bfast.

 

if the kids eat a good breakfast njust a simple fruit shouldnt be enough?!!! if needed at all. 

 

i understand teh money aspect. i realise for the school to be so strict one would have to spend more money. if your sister had to buy good crackers they would be more expensive than the junky one anyways. 

 

like One_Girl pointed out do they get to school with a few minutes to spare? if they do could your sister pack the bfast and have them eat that at school? 


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#13 of 60 Old 07-22-2012, 03:02 PM
 
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Lots of fresh fruit are easy to eat even with front teeth. Bananas, grapes, and all berries.

I have no patience with parents who don't get involved and then complain because they don't know what went into the decision. They see it ONLY from their own pov and not how it effects others. These decisions are *usually* made by looking at the situation from many pov and coming up with something that will work.

It also sounds like the school provides snacks for kids who don't bring them.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#14 of 60 Old 07-22-2012, 03:42 PM
 
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You wrote:

 

 

"They have a classroom snack every day, each kid is expected to bring their own snack..."

 

Does this mean that one child brings the snack in and all 30 kids eat it?  Or that each child brings in their own snack and eats only their own snack?

 

Not that you asked (you sort of did), but here is my take on it:  

 

If they are supplying snacks and all 30 kids eat it, then you're going to have to follow the list, or see about getting some things added (or deleted).

 

If you are not supplying snacks that everyone is eating, then an approved snack list isn't even needed.  I do not believe that all the children in the class should be required to bring in snacks that are only on that list, nor should they be required to have food guaranteed to be safe from cross-contamination.  What I mean is, if a child wants to bring in apple flavored Quaker granola bars (which may have cross contamination - unless they are made in Canada), then they should be able to bring them EVEN IF THE LABEL SAYS THAT IT WAS MADE IN A FACILITY THAT ALSO PROCESSES PEANUT.  Heck, half of the food allergic people I know ignore the warning and eat the food even with that warning!

 

I have never understood why schools are taking these extreme measures.  An approved snack list is great when everyone is going to participate and eat.  Let's face it, including a peanut allergic kid is the right thing to do.  But going overboard and eliminating possibly cross-contaminated items *even when the allergic kid won't be eating them* is going to do nothing but breed contempt, jealousy, and frustration.  Many parents will sneak foods into Jr's lunchbox when they feel like Big Brother is controlling their every move.

 

Now, before I get flamed, let me introduce myself.  My name is Carolyn and I am the mother to a 12 year old girl who nearly died when she was 22 months old from eating 1/8 of a Smucker's Uncrustable PB&J.  She has one of the most sensitive allergies, still a 6+ on a RAST blood test after all these years.  She had the one anaphylactic episode when she was a baby and has not had another reaction since because we are hyper vigilant about what she eats.  She does NOT eat foods that are labeled as possibly cross-contaminated, she rarely eats in restaurants, and we always contact manufacturers if their labels are ambiguous.  (Speaking of which, half of the "safe" foods on that list you posted are NOT safe and I wouldn't let my daughter eat them.)

 

It takes a village to raise these kids.  Thanks to all the parents who make changes to the lunchbox in order to keep our kids safe.  But I want to go on record that we parents of allergic children need to be cognizant of the frustration other parents feel and not make it any more difficult on them.  Teach our children how to keep themselves safe.  First and foremost (if they remember this, and live it, they will. never. have. a. reaction.), they should only eat food that they brought/supplied.  Period.  Especially young kids.  They need absolutes.  No food, ever, unless Mom or Dad sent it with you.  Don't make the rest of the world turn themselves inside out over this.  Trust me, you can be more flexible and your kid can also get to 12 without ever having a reaction (except the day we found out about the allergy!).  

 

Best of luck, and may all our kids stay safe!

Carolyn

 

 

 

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#15 of 60 Old 07-22-2012, 03:49 PM
 
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I don't think I made it clear that YES, I think peanut-free is wonderful (especially for the younger ages).  My whole post was meant to say that items with peanut-INGREDIENTS should be eliminated, but possibly cross-contaminated foods should be allowed.  No "approved snack list" is needed if the kids eat their own snacks (no sharing) and they are held to the rule that none of the snacks can have peanuts as an ingredient.

 

Ugh.  Sorry if I confused anyone.

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#16 of 60 Old 07-22-2012, 03:49 PM
 
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Soy, almond, or coconut yogurt

a bag of organic baby carrots (enough to share with the whole class) I can get for about $1.99

kids can eat most fruit even without their front teeth. I've never seen that be a real problem.  

I shop a lot at trader joe's I can get packaged popcorn that contains no dairy there

They have brand names of bars, but are the generics allowed?  What about from another store.  Again I'm thinking about Trader Joe's cereal bars and such (cheaper, usually don't have HFCS)

apple sauce (those squeeze apple sauces are very popular with my kid) no sugar added my kid even likes the one with carrot in it.

 

 

I think it's not the that deep to go into the school with the packages of food and say "hey I bought xyz and it says on it peanut free and I'm sending it in for my kid's snack"  But if she doesn't ask the school, the PTO, the teacher etc then of course they are only going to go with their policy.

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I think the problem is that apparently the classroom culture encourages sharing of snacks. I can understand that kids like that, but I think it's unreasonable if there are allergies or sensitivities in the class. The OPs sister's child is dairy allergic. How does that work with the snack sharing? What if someone has cheese sticks or cheetos or cheese crackers?

 

I think a better solution would be to let the kids bring their own snack and no trading. And then the teacher can have some extra approved snacks for kids who can't afford to bring snack. I think that if a parent wants to send a cut up apple from home and have just their child eat that cut up apple himself then it's not a risk for the peanut allergic child even if it was cut on a cutting board that once had a peanut butter sandwich on it. 

 

What is their lunch policy? Do they allow peanuts at lunch? Do they allow sharing at lunch? Do they have a separate table for allergy kids?


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I think the problem is that apparently the classroom culture encourages sharing of snacks. I can understand that kids like that, but I think it's unreasonable if there are allergies or sensitivities in the class. The OPs sister's child is dairy allergic. How does that work with the snack sharing? What if someone has cheese sticks or cheetos or cheese crackers?

 

 

The issue can also the oils and traces of peanut on hands, rubbed on chairs, recess balls ect. Kids, even at very young ages, can be very aware, very careful. I had preschoolers who knew exactly what they could eat and all their classmates were eagle eyed about it too. However,some kids allergies are so bad that skin contact with oils is enough to set them off. They wouldn't always be aware that something made in the same factory had enough traces to set a friend off. This isn't a commentary on what should be done or how they handle snack.. just that we've had to do "no traces of peanut" before for shows and it really is tricky. Dairy allergies are very rarely fatal and so I can see why they would still allow cheese and trust the child in question to watch what they ate. My kids are vegetarian and they have never had special consideration in class. They just watched for themselves and passed if they weren't sure on something. Not a big deal in that regard because they weren't going to die if they accidentally touched meat or ate something processed in a factory with animal fat. 

 

To OP, We'd have a pretty easy time with this list. I'd pass on the sugary cereals but the cereal bars and crackers can fit comfortably into a balanced diet. If you know they are going to eat crackers and chips at snack, have them pack a healthier lunch and don't have those things for after school snacks or dinner. The special treat list is junkie but then, they are suggestions for birthday celebrating, not for daily snacks I'm assuming. When your kids venture out into the world, you do start making compromises and having a serving of sun chips a couple times a week isn't too bad of one.

 

The expense of healthy alternatives is a big deal in this country as it is... can be cheaper to stop by McDonalds than to go to the grocery store for a balanced vegetarian meal for example.


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#19 of 60 Old 07-23-2012, 09:11 AM
 
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What about sending a can of sardines, or kipper snacks (herring), or canned mackerel?  It's pretty powerfully nutritious, and a lot of kids love them.
 

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#20 of 60 Old 07-23-2012, 12:14 PM
 
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I get that traces of peanut oil can be on the skin, etc, and I'm certainly not advocating letting kids bring any nuts, but my kids have been in school with several peanut allergic kids and I don't think any of their parents had any issue with another child bringing a cut up apple or some carrot sticks for themselves. That is unreasonable to me. If it was a snack to share that would be one thing and extra care might need to be taken (but still, carrot sticks?!), but I think it's the classroom culture of sharing that is problematic here. Have a no nuts policy. Fantastic. I certainly don't want to cause a child to go into anaphylactic shock, but you can't mandate that every child who attends the school only eat food that is produced in a kitchen that excludes nuts or you're telling kids that they can't bring any lunch from their home. That's ridiculous and I'm sure it's not the school lunch policy. I think they should just stop sharing snacks. Wash their hands before and after and let them eat their own snacks only.

 

When my kids went to a school with a no nuts or seeds policy there was definitely not any problem with homemade food (it was encouraged and we had monthly school potlucks in the evenings with parental supervision) and certainly no problem with cut up fruit or veggies from home in snacks or school lunches. 

 

Our public school now does not have a no nuts policy. My kids haven't had a peanut allergic kid in their classes although there must be some at the school. I don't know what the school does about peanut allergies. I am totally fine with being nut free, but the no carrots from home is going a little too far IMO.


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#21 of 60 Old 07-23-2012, 01:19 PM
 
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My sister has had lots of issues with the public school her kids attend and their peanut allergy policies. Her older child is allergic to dairy. At school peanuts and products made in facilities that manufacture other peanut products are banned. They have a classroom snack every day, each kid is expected to bring their own snack and those snacks can only come from the approved list. She asked me for suggestions on what to say to the school to try and get the polices to budge and I'm at a loss.

 

It wasn't that hard for me to deal with it.   (I didn't have exactly the same experience as yours, but I have had a lot of situations that are very similar to yours.)  You just need to approach this with the right perspective.

 

I'm going to assume that so far your sister just has this generic policy in her hands and hasn't had a chance to talk to anyone face to face.  (I apologize if I guessed incorrectly.)    I suggest that your sister set up a couple of face to face (hour-long) appointments with principal and teacher before school begins in the fall.  Unless the school is so enmeshed in unthinking bureaucracy, it might be a lot easier than you think.  

 

First, I'd talk with the principal and the teacher, and possibly the school nurse.  I would state that I don't want to change the policy, I just want to work out accommodations for my own child.  I wouldn't go in all confrontational.  I would simply state that my dd has dairy allergies, and that, when combined with the list of peanut-free products, it severely limits my dd's choice of snacks. 

 

First, I'd start by building up cred.

 

I would start out by saying that my own experience with my dd's dairy allergy gives me some experience and a little of the awareness of how seriously to take peanut allergies.

 

I would next state that, as a parent who constantly reads the labels for dairy, I am already aware of how to read the labels, and am already hypervigilant about reading the labels, and can start learning to read the labels for peanuts.  (If I had any personal experience with friends with peanut allergies, I'd also explain that I am familiar with bringing snacks that my peanut allergic friends are comfortable with eating.)

 

I would say that my dd needs some very simple accommodations for her dairy allergies, or she will not be able to learn effectively during school.  I would tell the school, that I am confident that we can make these accommodations very easy, without requiring any additional work from the teachers.

 

Then I would ask for what I want from my dd. If the entire class eats the same snack, I would tell the principal that my dd will bring her own snack everyday and be instructed to not share under any circumstances. To make me sound more reasonable, I would tell the principal the various ideas I had, and ask the teacher to pick which ideas would be the least additional work for the staff.  For example, I could propose that my child bring things that contain no peanuts/peanut products in the ingredients label.    Or, I could send a list of what snacks I would send with my child, including complete ingredients list, at the beginning of the year, for any peanut-allergic parents to review.  Or, I could tuck in a note each day with the list of ingredients in the day's snack, so the teacher could always check to make sure that the almond butter indeed does not contain any peanuts. 

 

Finally, I would tell the principal that I realize that FERPA does not allow the principal to disclose information about the peanut allergic child/children, but I would ask the principal to give these parents my contact info, and ask the parents to call/email me this week so that the peanut-allergic parents and I can discuss any concerns that they have so that we can make sure that my accommodations will not jeopardize the peanut-allergic child. 

 

Finally, I would bring all of my ideas to the appointment in writing, to give to everyone present at the meeting, and ask them to help me brainstorm some more ideas that would work for the teachers.

 

In the end, what will probably happen is that the school will pick a few of your ideas.  In fact, after checking with the peanut-allergic parents, it is possible (depending on whether the child is airborne allergic to the peanuts or not) that the parents might very well be fine with you just promising to swear on a stack of Bibles to read the ingredients list everyday. This has usually proven to be the case, after I have talked to the peanut-allergic parent and they understand how careful I am.

 

Just go in to the office with a can-do attitude of working together as a team to solve the problem, and you will probably get what you need.  Your sister don't necessarily need a change in the official policy, and she certainly will not get very far by complaining.  She just needs her challenges to mesh with the peanut allergies.  

 

At my dd's school at least, I've found that face-to-face meetings (backed up with a written summary of what I want to cover) is much more effective than a letter of complaint.

 

Edited to add: 

 

It is my experience that the peanut-allergy parents are more than happy to work with me to figure out how to make their peanut allergy work with our dairy allergy. Peanut allergy parents want to protect their children, but they don't want to isolate their children, so they know best what precautions will or will not work for their kid in the real world.

 

There is an enormous variability with food allergies, even anaphalactic peanut allergies.  It is a huge spectrum.  For example, for some peanut allergic children even breathing peanut dust is life-threatening, but many are fine with it.  Yes, there are children who cannot touch even traces of peanut, but there are peanut-allergic children who don't even require other children to wash their hands after eating peanuts, and such peanut-allergic parents are comfortable with that. So which one does your sister's dd's school have?  You won't know just by reading the school's one-size-fits all policy, which was probably written by a lawyer, and not by the parents of the peanut-allergic children that are actually in the school.  You won't know until you go spend an hour talking with the principal. 

 

What I have found is that if I have a good heart to heart talk with the one or two other parents with food allergies, including peanut allergies, we two families can come up with a solution that satisfies both of us.  The key is for your sister to initiate communication with the school, and possibly the peanut-allergy family/families, so that the peanut-allergy families are reassured that their child is not jeopardized by your child's daily snack. 

 

It's no big deal and easy to do, but parents don't seem to talk to other parents any more, so schools design these worst-case-scenario policies, instead.

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#22 of 60 Old 07-23-2012, 02:44 PM
 
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If I was the parent of a child with a peanut allergy that could kill him/her, I would be immensely grateful to the school for going to the trouble of putting together, what appears to me, to be an enormous list of choices for snack...many of which are healthy.

 

Maybe your sister can try to find some compassion for families who have to worry every day about their child dying because they come into contact with such a common allergen, and save her stress for something else.

 

Even with her offer to get a dedicated cutting board and knife, all it takes is one sitter, one neighborhood kid, one guest to blow it.  Peanut allergies are so dangerous...it doesn't mean a dollop accidently smeared on something.  A micron can do it.


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#23 of 60 Old 07-23-2012, 02:57 PM
 
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I just want to add that perhaps the school might entertain the idea of having huge boxes of things and either have the kids take turns bringing in the huge boxes (meaning they're cheaper, and they know that it's not cross-contaminated), or everyone pay a set amount per semester or quarter, and the school supplies all the snacks (which is what my kids's school does).

 

For those of you who are questioning why this is such a big deal, or are complaining about the no nut policy in your own child's school, I am fairly certain you've never seen anaphylaxis. It's terrifying. People die, and quickly. I'd rather be "inconvenienced" on a daily basis trying to get creative with my kids' lunches and snacks than risk having some child's airway close as a result of my carelessness. It's so avoidable. Shame on all of you who are bitching about such a trivial (for YOU) matter.


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That is a lousy list. I found it baffling until I read the discussion. None of that stuff would fly at my kids (public, charter) school because most would violate school's own nutrition policy.

 

These are the changes she should advocate for...

 

-- snacks cannot be shared in class, which eliminates much of the risk

-- an expansion of the list to include many healthier alternatives than the junk listed that meets the nut free ban, it may be as simple as including things like organic dairy products for kids that consume them, soy or coconut alternatives, healthy bar options,

--  a change to the cut fruit policy

-- ban on in-class treats

 

Change comes to people who work for it.

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#25 of 60 Old 07-23-2012, 04:17 PM
 
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Soy is a common allergen. I used to be able to eat soy, now I cannot. Be careful about relying too much on soy.

It is certainly a frustrating situation. I have no suggestions. My son's food allergies are part of why we chose to homeschool. I feel for you trying to find a snack that is acceptable and healthy.
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#26 of 60 Old 07-23-2012, 04:23 PM
 
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That is unreasonable to me. If it was a snack to share that would be one thing and extra care might need to be taken (but still, carrot sticks?!),

There really seems enough good things on the list. The list DOES included veggies with carrot sticks specifically as well as whole fruit. You can get packaged no-sugar added apple sauces pretty easily. Whole fruit like bananas, tangelos, strawberries, grapes... all are generally manageable in whole form to kindergarten and up. It seemed the issue was more the expense of fruit and veggies as opposed to kids not being able to bring them. There isn't a note on brands of cereal bars and there are some pretty decent natural versions not produced with nuts (I had to seek them out just a couple months ago lol) but again, perhaps it's a cost issue.

 

Whether to fight it really depends on what the individual parent. Personally, I had bigger battles that warranted my attention but maybe this is the big battle for them.


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#27 of 60 Old 07-23-2012, 06:54 PM
 
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Okay, here's the thing. This is apparently not a peanut free school. 

 

 

Quote: from the OP

Last year the issue was that peanuts were allowed in the cafeteria (they still are)...

 

So if there's a micron of peanut matter that is going to cause the child to go into anaphylactic shock it's much more likely to come from the cafeteria than it is from the OP's sister's dedicated nut free cutting board and knife. 

 

I do see that the list includes carrot sticks, but the OP says:

 

Quote:
carrots - only expensive baby carrots in individual bags would be allowed

 

I think that is pretty unreasonable if they're going to allow peanuts in the cafeteria, but not allow a parent to send fruit or veggies they cut up and packed at home. 

 

OP, I don't see on the letter that you provided where the school said ONLY items on the list can be sent. Maybe it's okay to send rice cakes and honey. All she has to do is ask. 

 

Personally, my kids never cared about snack that much and were happy with a few pretzels, so if it was me I wouldn't be too worried about it all, but I also am just not too keen on the idea of kids sharing snacks that much anyway. I'd rather know that my child is eating what I sent.

 

I have several friends with kids with peanut allergies (one of whom has been treated and can now tolerate small amounts of peanuts) as well as two grown up friends with peanut allergies. My adult friends (sister and brother) grew up in the 60s and 70s with peanut & tree nut allergies so you can imagine what they had to go through. No one in the general public had ever even heard of such an allergy back then. The brother was so allergic just the smell of peanut butter could cause him to have a reaction. It is scary, but I think allowing peanuts in the cafeteria, but not allowing home cut fruit is crazy. 

 

For those who are interested, doctors at Duke have successfully treated peanut allergies. I have friends with a child who successfully completed the program and his reaction to peanuts is greatly reduced. I don't think he can eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or anything, but if he accidentally comes in contact with a peanut he doesn't have to be rushed to the ER or use his epi-pen. 


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#28 of 60 Old 07-23-2012, 10:22 PM
 
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I get that traces of peanut oil can be on the skin, etc, and I'm certainly not advocating letting kids bring any nuts, but my kids have been in school with several peanut allergic kids and I don't think any of their parents had any issue with another child bringing a cut up apple or some carrot sticks for themselves. That is unreasonable to me. If it was a snack to share that would be one thing and extra care might need to be taken (but still, carrot sticks?!), but I think it's the classroom culture of sharing that is problematic here. Have a no nuts policy. Fantastic. I certainly don't want to cause a child to go into anaphylactic shock, but you can't mandate that every child who attends the school only eat food that is produced in a kitchen that excludes nuts or you're telling kids that they can't bring any lunch from their home. That's ridiculous and I'm sure it's not the school lunch policy. I think they should just stop sharing snacks. Wash their hands before and after and let them eat their own snacks only.

 

see specially peanut allergy is on a spectrum. i know children who are deathly allergic to it. in fact those are the children who die. one of those children when she did the skin test the peanut drop not only turned the skin RED, but it also burnt it. there was a kid who died recently - within teh last few months somewhere in teh US - an elementary school kid who ate a snack from another child without checking the label. the snack was just cooked in a facility using nuts. not that there was an ingredient in it. 

 

seeing how people are usually not aware of contaminants and allergies - i can totally get why home made even cut foods should not be brought from home. 

 

it is because they dont want to inconvenience other parents, that parents of severly allergic kids dont send their kids to school. 

 

isnt sharing at school a state of being. dont most kids exchange or share lunch most of the times? 


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#29 of 60 Old 07-23-2012, 10:54 PM
 
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isnt sharing at school a state of being. dont most kids exchange or share lunch most of the times? 

In my DS' school, sharing is strictly forbidden. They are explained why (allergies, reactions). Also, there are 2 classrooms for each grade and one classroom is usually designated as a peanut/tree-nut free classroom. When both classes share the bus, they ask that kids in the no restriction classroom bring nut-free snacks.

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#30 of 60 Old 07-23-2012, 11:16 PM
 
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Wow that is an awful list.  Is she absolutely certain that only these items are allowed and that it is not just a list of suggestions? I'm having trouble believing that pre-packaged food with the nut-free symbol wouldn't be allowed.  Insane if that is true. 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by McGucks View Post

 

Even with her offer to get a dedicated cutting board and knife, all it takes is one sitter, one neighborhood kid, one guest to blow it.  Peanut allergies are so dangerous...it doesn't mean a dollop accidently smeared on something.  A micron can do it.

 

Such as the micron on the kid's sleeve because she brushed against the peanut butter smear that her little brother left on the underside of the table the day before that her mother hasn't noticed to clean yet.  So kids should be scrubbed down and made to change into new clothes at the school entrance?

 

I support peanut free schools.  Asking parents to keep a peanut free board and knife is not totally unreasonable.  Asking that kids please not eat peanut butter with breakfast is reasonable (though neither can actually be enforced).  Banning fresh cut fruit is not reasonable.  

 

Especially as this is not actually a peanut free school.  Kids who open their sealed ziplock bags and take out their lunches and proceed to get peanuty crumbs from a granola bar all over their shirt or hard-to-see peanut butter smears on their hands or sleeves before returning to class is much, much more dangerous to an extremely allergic child than a cut apple. 

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