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to be annoyed with the school about packed lunch police

(97 Posts)
NYCorLondon Tue 27-Sep-11 21:12:45

My dd is in reception and I think the school are being OTT about policing the packed lunches. We got the guidelines before school started which seemed pretty reasonable - not too much junk, no peanuts etc.

So one day I send her in with three small squares of good quality dark chocolate. To my mind that's far better than the cakes that they serve for dessert every day with school dinners. The teachers called me in at the end of the day and I was told not to put chocolate in school lunches. I wanted to say something but didn't want to make trouble so just nodded and agreed.

The other day she had something with sesame seeds on it (I was away that day). DH was called in when he picked up and told that sesame seeds are not allowed (not written anywhere). They had let dd eat it but she'd had to wash her hands and tongue(!) afterwards. DH forgot to tell me about this incident and I sent her in today with a seeded bagel. So this time the dinner ladies took away her sandwich and gave her a plain white roll instead.

I'm feeling really annoyed with the school and thinking about complaining tomorrow. If they've changed the guidelines, then why haven't they sent anything home? And taking away a 4 year old's lunch is really not on imho!

Out of interest, are sesame seed reactions airborne??? Is a child really at risk from my dd eating a sandwich with seeded bread???? Or is the school being totally OTT?? It'll help me get some perspective on this!

Thanks!

MegBusset Tue 27-Sep-11 21:18:52

Presumably there are two issues here - the healthy eating and allergies.

No chocolate in lunchboxes is kind of fair enough I think - for every parent like you who is sensible, there will be one who thinks that a KitKat and crisps is a balanced meal. So easier to have a blanket ban. Surely your DC can survive one meal without chocolate in?

Re: the sesame policy, if you haven't had any info on it then YANBU to request clarification. One of DS1's classmates has an anaphylactic allergy to nuts and dairy so he has to sit separately from the other children for his lunch and the kids aren't allowed to take ANY food into the classroom. Presumably there is a child in your DD's school with a similarly severe allergy?

Sirzy Tue 27-Sep-11 21:22:41

They should have told you about the seeds (unless the policy stated no nuts or seeds which is often the case) but no junk means no junk and you can't expect them to make exceptions dependant on the quality of the junk!

NYCorLondon Tue 27-Sep-11 21:23:19

If there is a child with a severe reaction to sesame, then they absolutely are being irresponsible by just looking at the sandwich to see if there's sesame on it! What about tahini and hummus?? Are they going to start opening up every child's sandwich!

The otehr thing is that there ISN'T a blanket ban on chocolate! I read the guidelines before she started! And it annoys me even more when I see the menu for school dinners - which includes chocolate sponge. And don't get me started on the junk that they give her on the days that she goes to after school club (jam sandwiches and crisps!). They're such hypocrites!!

CocktailQueen Tue 27-Sep-11 21:23:23

How bizarre. Tend to think the school is being insane and draconian. You're right - jam roly poly or choc pudding for school dinner is fine but NOT choc form home?? hmm We're not allowed nuts either in school but seeds are fine and are a healthy part of a diet. Sure;y there are no seed allergies? Haven't heard of one. Maybe the school mistook the seeds for nuts??! I'd have a word with the teacher/HT.

NYCorLondon Tue 27-Sep-11 21:26:01

And the chocolate issue does annoy me. She gets a packed lunch with at least two servings of fresh veggies and of fresh fruit, nearly always wholewheat grains. Where does the school have the right to decide what my daughter will eat??? Who do they think they are? Especially when their school dinners are so unhealthy which is why I faff about with packed lunches.

NYCorLondon Tue 27-Sep-11 21:27:16

Oh, I forgot the classic one!!! i sent her in with some soy beans for a snack (the dried ones). DH got called in and told not to send in nuts. When he said they're soy beans, the teacher said 'well, nothing from the tree nut family'!

I think they've got us flagged up as trouble makers.

Sirzy Tue 27-Sep-11 21:27:58

Well why not go into school to talk to the staff? Go in with your concerns and ask them to clarify what you can and can't take.

They have to have the policies in place now to try to prevent the "butty, crisps and chocolate" type dinners. The school dinners are MEANT to be balanced and its easier for the school to try to ensure that than it is for them to do with packed lunches.

MegBusset Tue 27-Sep-11 21:30:05

Soy beans are a legume, I think - same as peanuts.

Sesame seed allergy is pretty common, my DS1 has it (amongst others!)

curlyredhair Tue 27-Sep-11 21:30:06

Seriously soy beans?

troisgarcons Tue 27-Sep-11 21:32:29

Oh you wait till the Lunch Box Nazi Police start rifling through awarding stickers for 5 fruits (I kid ye not)

littleducks Tue 27-Sep-11 21:33:05

Our school has a no chocolate/sweets rule but kit kats/rocky bars are allowed confused

I would check the seeds issue, I wouldn't go into complain but to clarify

If another child has a serious allergy (you can be allergic to seeds) you should have been informed not to send in seeded items, I suppose that sesame seeds on top of a roll are a greater risk than sesame in tahini/humous as it is more likely to fall off and come into contact with another child,.

triskaidekaphile Tue 27-Sep-11 21:35:35

How irritating. I'd be tempted to move her onto school dinners.

NYCorLondon Tue 27-Sep-11 21:35:44

Well, if all legumes are banned, then nothing with lentils or beans??? The school has no idea about nutrition imo.

The last thing I want is to cause a child to have an allergic reaction, but if there is a child who has such a severe allergy that seeded bread in another child's lunchbox could set it off, then the school has a duty of care to let us parents know! Ad-hoc looking at what's in lunchboxes and then calling in parents is hardly responsible behaviour.

NYCorLondon Tue 27-Sep-11 21:37:33

The frustrating thing is that she's not on school dinners because they're so unhealthy. She's a bit overweight and I'd rather know what she's eating rather than the rubbish they have on the school dinner menu.

triskaidekaphile Tue 27-Sep-11 21:39:03

I think it's utterly ridiculous for one child's allergy to mean that no one can have a sesame seed on their bagel or a soy bean snack. The lunch box police should be redeployed to protect the allergic child by keeping them away from sesame seeds and soy beans until they are old enough to steer clear of them for themselves.

pigletmania Tue 27-Sep-11 21:42:01

We are lucky dd school is not that draconian about it. My dd has SN and has only just started reception at a MS school, dd is on half days and just started lunches. And because they want her to sit down and not have a meltdown at lunch and be happy, I am allowed to put things that dd likes in there e.g. Fruit Shoot, chocolate mousse, crisps (I pack fruit as well btw). I think also the other kids are allowed that too.

NYCorLondon Tue 27-Sep-11 21:43:35

To be honest tris I wouldn't mind if they'd sent out clear guidance. It's not hard to buy non-seeded bread. I do mind my 4 year old having her lunch taken away from her.

Haberdashery Tue 27-Sep-11 22:07:30

Sesame seeds are a really common allergen. How would you feel if your kid ate seeds, breathed on another child (or you know, licked her hands and touched her friend or something, as 4 year olds are wont to do) and caused a life-threatening reaction?

I agree that the school should have sent out clear guidance but as your DH couldn't be bothered to tell you about it your family isn't entirely blameless either. As the school saw it, you'd been told once and failed to comply.

I don't think any child actually needs chocolate in their lunchbox, really, no matter what the quality and particularly not if they are overweight. Could you not send something that is allowed instead? Flapjack, homemade fairy cake, homemade popcorn, fruit leather, whatever?

triskaidekaphile Tue 27-Sep-11 22:11:43

Well you actually sound very reasonable to me, NYCorLondon. I really think some schools have gone way ott with this sort of thing. It doesn't help those who are sent with a sugared jam doughnut and a tube of smarties each day to ban squares of dark chocolate and soy beans. And taking away a 4 year olds lunch is just crap, I agree.

troisgarcons Tue 27-Sep-11 22:12:57

How would you feel if your kid ate seeds, breathed on another child (or you know, licked her hands and touched her friend or something, as 4 year olds are wont to do) and caused a life-threatening reaction?

Well Id put them in bubble wrap, nay a plasic bubble, never go out, never use a bus or a tube, never go shopping .....coz He/She might BREATHE on someone.

diggingintheribs Tue 27-Sep-11 22:15:53

i know a lot of kids with sesame seed allergies(often combined with peanut allegies) so I think it is quite common

agree with the healthy eating policy though. I have to give DS a snack of fruit or veg for their morning break. in the afternoon they get biscuits or jam sandwiches!!

triskaidekaphile Tue 27-Sep-11 22:16:08

But none of those things (flapjack, homemade fairy cake, homemade popcorn, fruit leather) are inherently any healthier than a couple of squares of dark chocolate.

Is there a child with a sesame allergy in the school?

Sirzy Tue 27-Sep-11 22:16:31

I can only assume you don't realise how serious allergies can be trois?

Nuts were banned at my school because my sister has a life threatening allergy. So bad that when someone decided to eat a snickers bar at the other side of the classroom she started reacting

May be a pita for the parents who can't send these things in but more of a pita for the child who will be made ill by them!

Op the school lunch menus are planned on a cycle and are balanced and healthy. Any cakes for pudding have no sugar in them and the chocolate cake on the menu is not the sort you would buy in the shops. Every school meal provider has to follow strict guidelines about what is allowed and in what quantities.
As for the food policies they should be accessible for any one to read so just ask for them.

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