Food Allergies at School
The United States Dept. of Agriculture (Reg. 7 CFR Part 15b) requires substitutions or modifications in school meals for children with medical conditions or food allergies that may result in severe, life-threatening (anaphylactic) reactions. These substitutions need to be supported by a statement signed by a recognized medical authority (licensed physician, nurse practitioner, physician assistant). The statement must identify the medical or other special dietary condition which restricts the child's diet, the food or foods to be omitted, and the food or choice of foods to be substituted.
For your student’s health and safety, the school needs the following items returned to the school’s clinic as soon as possible.
Dietary needs/Substitutions (ex. food intolerance):
□ Special Dietary Needs Form (required by the Virginia Department of Education, (Supt. Memo #263) to be completed by a recognized medical authority annually)
Severe Food Allergy:
□ Emergency Allergy Plan and Treatment Form (specific instructions for the school staff in the event that an allergic reaction occurs while at school)
□ Medication Authorization Form (If applicable)
□ Epinephrine Kits or Benadryl are to be kept in the clinic (If applicable-your child suffers from a food allergy that causes possible life threatening symptoms (i.e. shortness of breath or wheezing, hives, etc.) parents must provide all medication used to treat these symptoms)
Outside Food Policy-
Food allergies, once considered rare, are now believed to affect 2.5 million American children. Foods that most often cause allergic reactions include milk, peanuts, eggs, tree nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds, etc.), wheat, fish, shellfish, and soy. These foods cause at least 30,000 emergency rooms visits annually and an estimated 150 deaths.
These statistics along with a dramatic rise in medical conditions such as childhood diabetes and obesity have caused a reevaluation of school policy concerning classroom treats. As of school year 2009-2010 we no longer permit food snacks to celebrate birthdays in the classroom or cafeteria. We do not want this viewed as "taking the fun out of school" but rather that the safety of our children is our #1 priority. Food brought in for particular academic-related classroom celebrations or concluding a unit of study will still be encouraged. These will be planned by the teacher in conjunction with their room parent while considering individual dietary restrictions of the class members. Birthdays will still be announced school wide during the morning announcements.
Several safety factors were considered in our decision. Ingredient lists can be difficult to read as they often use confusing synonyms. For example, milk can be listed as casein, lactalbumin, hydrolysates, lacoglobulin, or whey and eggs can be listed as albumin, globulin, livetin, lysozyme, or ovalbumin. This can be an unfair burden on anyone attempting to make a safe food selection. Cross contamination between an allergy-containing and an allergy-free food can occur simply by using a shared utensil. Manufactured treats are often prepared on the same assembly line that made peanut or chocolate treats last week, and this too is a potential threat to someone with a food allergy.
Please support us in this policy to avoid these potential life-threatening reactions and keep our students safe and healthy.