Archive for the ‘School with Food Allergies’ Category

Does this Maui School Have the Right Approach to Food Allergies?

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

Two days ago, I had the opportunity to discuss food allergies with an elementary school teacher from Maui, HI. She told me there seems to be a growing concern regarding the increase in peanut allergy amongst young school children on the island. In an effort to avoid potential allergic reactions during the school day, the town’s school system has instituted a policy that forbids children from bringing food into the schools unless it is pre-packaged and stamped with the manufacturer’s ingredient label. The school provides necessary food for the students, therefore allowing the school to control what ingredients are allowed into the buildings. There is an expectaion that this arrangement provides teachers an opportunity to keep unwanted allergens out of the classroom.

My initial reaction was to empathise with the workload of the teachers. Is this too much to ask of them? I know I get tired of reading labels in my own home and we are just a small family of four adults. I can’t imagine having to police an entire classroom of children. But what’s the alternative? Sticky fingers and food particles randomly dispersed amongst the desk tops? I don’t think there is an easy answer.

Kudos to them for trying something new. If the new policy is not effective, they can always go back to the old way of doing things. Or try something else. At least they recognize the complicatons of food allergies in the classroom and are attempting to find the best way to handle the situation.