Are Schools Right in Banning Certain Foods?

| October 3, 2013 | 11 Comments

Photo credit: woodleywonderworks / Foter / CC BY

Photo credit: woodleywonderworks / Foter / CC BY

With two young children in school, packing lunches has become part of my daily routine. Luckily, my daughters like a variety of foods so this daily task isn’t too much of a chore. For the most part, my challenge has been to figure out what type of lunches I can fit into that cylindrical shaped Thermos to keep them hot until lunch time. Pasta and soups are easy enough but I’ve been known to pack scramble eggs, chopped up pancakes or french toast, or whatever leftovers we might have from the night before not to mention some traditional Greek dishes that probably freak out the other children. But I’ve been at this for a few years now and have developed somewhat of a routine.

Our school is a peanut-free zone. I’m used to that now. Does it bother me? Not really. A peanut butter sandwich would be great and easy from time to time but I feel it’s more a shame that I can’t pack the girls some almonds or walnuts as a snack. They love them and they are so good for you. But I’ve only given it minor thought over the years. It must be so difficult to live with an allergy or to worry about your child with an allergy. But should we ban food items in schools because some children have allergies? Anaphylaxis is a serious allergic reaction that is rapid in onset and may cause death. That’s what makes it so scary. Having an upset stomach is one thing. Dying is a whole other ball of wax. But did you know that many foods can trigger anaphylaxis? In Western cultures, ingestion of or exposure to peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, shellfish, fish, milk, and eggs are the most prevalent causes. So why don’t we ban milk? How about eggs?

Earlier this week, I got a note from my daughter’s teacher indicating that their classroom is a “peanut, tree-nut, sesame seed, fish-free zone”. At first I glossed over the information but then I started to think of how that would change what foods I pack for my youngest or what products I purchase. No more Kettleman’s sesame bagels for school. We will have to choose different crackers. No more Sesame Snaps. No more Zataars (Lebanese pitas with thyme and sesame). No more hummus with her vegetables. No more of the traditional Greek bread or cookies. We will have to buy different hamburger buns. No more fish leftovers. So the fish isn’t too big of a deal for us, she’s never been a fan of tuna and although she loves other fish, I don’t typically pack her fish for lunch, but all the other items are on regular rotation at our place. Peanuts, tree-nuts, sesame seeds, fish. All healthy foods. All banned. What a shame but we will adjust. The problem though is that since my children don’t have those allergies I shouldn’t have to worry about this but now I do find myself worrying. I’m checking out the ingredients list on snack food items. Do granola bars have sesame seeds? How about that salad dressing?

Are food bans the right choice? Am I over-reacting? What would you do?

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Category: Back to School, Family, Food, Kids, Moms, Nutrition, Themes

About the Author ()

Guest blogger!