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No 'may contain nuts' products in packed lunch!

(8 Posts)
KatieLiz321 Tue 10-May-16 00:10:51

I'm just after some opinions! Our preschool has a nut-free policy which I understand and abide by. They have also banned chocolate spread as they can't tell if it is Nutella or not just by looking at it which is OK by me. Now they have confiscated my daughters granola bar as, although the recipe does not contain nuts it is labelled as 'may contain nuts'. On closer investigation I discovered loads of food items in our kitchen which 'may contain nuts' like crumpets, chocolate, popcorn!! I understand that it is a risk of cross contamination that is present in these products but surely the ham sandwich I made her today 'may contain nuts'. We are not a nut free household and our butter probably has a trace of peanut butter mixed in! We have food stored in the same cupboards as peanuts etc and our cutlery and Tupperware is often used for peanut products. Surely nothing I make can be truly nut free and so banning items that 'may contain nuts' even when they don't have them as an ingredient is ridiculous?? Am I overreacting?

VimFuego101 Tue 10-May-16 00:18:09

Well, if a child has an airbourne nut allergy, that food could be very dangerous to them. That said, where I live, only the younger kids are asked to stay completely nut free. The high schools take the view that kids need to learn to manage their nut allergies and learn to be safe and carry an epipen, just as they would have to if they went out in public. They don't allow nuts but 'may contain nuts' items are Ok. They do supply a list of 'safe' brands though. Your DD could have eaten peanut butter just before coming to school and not washed her hands, or you could have put her food in a Tupperware box which had nuts in previously. So I don't think it's really possible or safe to rely on having a completely nut free environment. How old are the kids?

KatieLiz321 Tue 10-May-16 07:12:11

Thanks! The kids are very young - age 2 to 4. My main point is that if the allergy is that serious that any food that has a risk of contamination is not safe then surely the child should not be around any packed lunches as all of the home prepared food could be contaminated. Obviously all allergies are different in severity and the consequences can be disastrous. Just seems strange not to allow something which has been made in a factory that handles nuts but to allow food which has been made in a kitchen that contains nuts? Surely to be truly nut free the school needs to provide lunches (made in a controlled nut free environment with nut free ingredients) and ban all home food?

PandasRock Tue 10-May-16 07:18:16

Banning 'may contain' items really does make life difficult.

My eldest has to take packed lunch, which needs to be dairy and gluten free (her dietary issues) and school have a nut ban including 'may contain' items.

It makes it virtually impossible to give her any variety at all.

The anaphylactic society does not recommend banning, as it creates a false sense of security. My dd has a breakfast including peanut butter most days, and could well have traces of it on her hands/uniform (probably does).

INeedNewShoes Tue 10-May-16 07:25:54

This is ridiculous.

I have a very severe nut allergy, with life threatening reactions to even small amounts of certain nuts.

Even though being in the same room as a bowl of peanuts/cashews/walnuts is enough to cause a significant reaction, it is absolutely unnecessary for me to avoid being in the presence of 'may contain traces' items. In fact I often eat them! I make a judgement call on the level of risk according to what else is produced in the same factory. Only very rarely is there actually any cross-contamination and the amounts are so minute that the reaction tends to be fairly mild.

It worries me how over the top policies are getting to 'protect' allergic children. This is not protecting them. Shielding allergic children from all possible contact with the allergen whilst at school gives them an unrealistic view of the world.

I gather that more teenagers/young adults die of allergic reactions than people of other ages. This is probably because they are so wrapped up in cotton wool as children at home and at school that when they go out into the big wide world they haven't got a clue how to look after themselves and make their own judgement on things.

Rant over!

INeedNewShoes Tue 10-May-16 07:28:17

And do these children whose parents (presumably) are requesting these measures are put in place, never go on trains, buses, planes, to shopping centres to playgrounds to other peoples' houses? All of these places will be covered in nut traces from where people have been eating nuts and then touched things before they've washed their hands.

I'm more wary of touching a hand-rail on the tube than I am of eating a 'may contain traces' crumpet. The hand-rail is far more likely to set off a reaction!

rogueelement Fri 13-May-16 15:21:27

It's much more likely to be the nursery overreacting without thinking it through or indeed understanding much about food ingredients. We've had examples where school blundered in with well-meaning but completely hopeless attitudes to allergy.

I've had to talk schools out of this sort of thing in the past. They think they're being helpful.

anotherdayanothersquabble Fri 13-May-16 21:44:05

Speak to them to understand the rational behind the guidelines, where they look for guidance and how many children are potentially affected. Some gentle questions might make them rethink...

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