Food allergies are becoming more and more common. Although an individual could be allergic to any food, there are eight foods that account for 90% of all food-allergic reactions:
- tree nuts (almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts/filberts, macadamia nuts,
- pecans, pine nuts/pignolias, pistachio, walnuts, etc)
- soy, and
Sesame is quickly becoming the ninth major allergen. A person could have an anaphylaxis reaction if they have an allergy to these (or other) foods. Peanut allergies however are the most likely to cause death of all the major allergens. It is implicated as a trigger in 59% of associated deaths.
With the increasing number of peanut/tree nut allergic students, and its dire consequences, it is important that the school takes steps to insure the safety of students. However, due to food processing practices it is impractical to eliminate nuts or nut by-products from the school environment, thus the need for an awareness policy.
The policy is to be managed by:
- Parents and caregivers being requested not to send food to school that contain nuts (especially peanuts). This includes peanut paste, Nutella, all nuts and cooking oil containing peanut oil, as well as foods containing nuts. This is especially important for younger students who are less able to manage their allergy.
- Staff supervising eating during the morning break.
- Students being encouraged not to share food.
- Students being encouraged to wash hands after eating.
- First aid training for staff that includes an understanding of and methods for dealing with Anaphylaxis (severe allergic reactions) as the need arises.
- Students bringing food that contains nuts or nut products being asked to eat that food away from any other students and to wash their hands after eating.
- Providing space on enrolment forms for the recording of allergy information.
- In turn providing this information to teachers in a timely manner.
- In the case where food is brought to school for the purpose of sharing (eg. Birthday cakes) a list of ingredients is included with the food and this is reviewed by the class teacher.
- The parents of students with relevant allergies need to discuss the appropriate responses with the teachers, and leave a relevant action plan with the teacher if required.
- Parents are to make the school aware of changes in their children’s allergies as soon as possible.
The policy will be promoted by:
- Parents and caregivers being informed via the newsletter.
- New families to the school community being informed via the Enrolment Information sheet.
- Staff being informed and provided with training opportunities.
- Students being informed by the teachers.