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To Wonder if Any Others Have a New School Meal Provider & Intolerance/Allergy Problems??

(9 Posts)
rockinhippy Thu 29-Sep-11 12:21:20

Probably not the right place to put this, but I've spent the last 15 minutes looking for a suitable forum & have now given up as I just can't seem to find one confused

so hopefully you'll forgive me smile - besides this bit is always much busier & I REALLY want to know if its just me thats dealing with this sort of shite ATM & what to make of it - thanks grin

Our area has a new School meals provider, who have set up a new system for DCs with any allergies or intolerances, which involves filling in a form & then getting a Doctor to sign it confirming the intolerance/allergy adding a covering letter & - if you don't get this your DCs won't be given School meals hmm - DD is intolerant to food chemicals & lactose - that means not dairy so long as its cooked

Having given up on School meals as DD was TWICE made ill & missing School as a direct result of being given the wrong foods - foods already in her notes & have never had a problem in the past - resulting in my putting a complaint in writing - as did other parents after similar incidents hmm

lots of tooing & froing & unnecessary stress over short deadline, lots of reasons why it was important it was sorted out - but after going to the top, we DID manage an extension - then followed by cook not understanding DDs intolerance & refusing to feed DD anyway, despite us having already checked menu & know its okay - resulting in my TWICE being called to the School with a packed lunch mid morning hmm -

Anyway, I could bore you & go into more detail, but basically now they have my DDs Medically signed forms & yet another letter saying what she CAN & CAN"T safely eat - & I have just received a colour coded updated menu for DD detailing what the cook needs to substitute, & what she mustn't give DD

IMHO unless the School Meals provider is sticking chemical additives in a lot more foods than I was told over the phone & a LOT more than I suspect the HT knows about as its a "healthy eating school" & previously there were no additives in the food at all, - then my letters & forms have been completely ignored/misunderstood by the companies dietician, EG: DD amongst won't be allowed Custard, yoghurt or any sauces….or boiled potato or peas shock

AIBU smile to ask if anyone else is having this same problem??

rockinhippy Thu 29-Sep-11 12:24:03

Should have also added - the additives would be even more galling in the light of recent cake treats for DDs class mates on her birthday - always being okay in the past, but I got a bit of a lecture about healthy eating & whether they should be allowed or not by a teacher who I'd never met before hmm - we are extremely healthy eaters - hmm

rockinhippy Thu 29-Sep-11 12:30:09

that means not dairy so long as its cooked - should have read that means dairy OKAY long as its cooked

julezboo Thu 29-Sep-11 12:43:59

I dont have experience with this yet! But I will in a few years time as DS3 has CMPI, egg allergy and other things. I just figured the way aound it would be to give him packed lunch?

Could you do this for DD, it would save any cock ups and they are so much cheaper than school dinners lol

School sound a bit crap with it tbh.

DS2 gets sick when he has Orange, his teacher is well aware of it so when they have parties she supervises him completely, there is has only been on incident where he had a cup of orangeade and he was sick for the weekend, but it happens I would be annoyed though if he was on dinners n they kept calling me to bring packed lunch in!!

Whatmeworry Thu 29-Sep-11 12:44:33

Given the explosion in dietary ishoos over the last decade I'm just always surprised anyone bothers to do school meals anymore, it must be a logistical, legal and elf and safety nightmare these days.

BarbarianMum Thu 29-Sep-11 13:34:37

<<Given the explosion in dietary ishoos over the last decade I'm just always surprised anyone bothers to do school meals anymore, it must be a logistical, legal and elf and safety nightmare these days.>>

Ahh but there's a lot of money in it, and all things said and done its not that difficult to dish up safe, healthy meals - even allowing for those annoying kids that can't eat everything.

OP - Ds1 can't have nuts, celery and kiwi and both the last and current of our school meals providers are happy to deal with this (did need a letter from the doctor to confirm the allergies first though).

Also, maybe post on the allergies board (under Health) for more responses. smile

eragon Thu 29-Sep-11 13:52:31

i agree , post on the allergies board.

personally its difficult to feel confidant with every different allergy list the allergic children have, and its important to get it right, not least because mistakes with a ige allergic child can result in death, or near miss.

so i applaud the school meals system for getting medical back up and full listing.

school cooks are not allergy trained, and expecting them to know the difference between intolerence and ige is quite laughable.

cross contamination, is another huge issue, and perhaps this lead to the mistakes with your child meals? its a difficult subject to fully explain and with 100s of children having lunches to expect everyone to remember not to mix serving spoons when under a strict time schedule,means mistakes happen.

there is training out there, but its few and far between, and lets face it , not all school meals are going to send everyone of their kitchen staff on such a course £££

so that leaves parents becoming educators, and making the judgements on each member of staff understanding what to feed your child.

this situation is of course going to lead to the allergic child being excluded from school meals at times, but for child safety , sometimes taking a different choice is needed.
certainly most school meals were out of the question for my child, and so it wasnt until he was in yr 5 and 6 that he could have one meal a week, and that ironically was the junk food day, as chips was the safest option.
this was some years after i got to know the kitchen staff, and quite frankly i had so much work on my hand educating the teaching staff, packed lunches were the only way forward.

so , yes in some aspects you are being unreasonable.

I can understand that you're frustrated, but I don't think you realise what the meal provider is dealing with. They're trying to be helpful and avoid being sued for making your child ill.

The peas will be because their supplier is refusing to certify that they are free of whatever it is your child is allergic to.

Cut them some slack, they are at least trying!

rockinhippy Thu 29-Sep-11 13:57:01

Great idea Barbarianmum thanks - I hadn't thought of that smile

& thanks to you too Whatmeworry & julezboo

& TBH, you are right - we did pretty much give up on School meals recently for that reason, new Cook & SMPs just didn't seem to "get it" in the way the previous ones had -

prior to that, we've never had any problems at all, & that was simply with the School office having it on record & passing it onto the cook, worked fine for years, so I really don't think the School are at fault at all - now the new system just doesn't seem to work any more - yet its all singing & dancing, forms to fill in, more letters to write, menus to approve, people to speak too & speak to AGAIN hmm etc etc - its starting to feel like a full time sodding job & yet they still don't seem able to get it right --

& if it is more additives, sweeteners, colours etc that are the reason DDs menu is so restricted, which unless they are TOTALLY thick - as I've had to go over the lactose intolerance several times already & they liaison seemed to understand it & also mentioned we are not the only ones with this problem at the School - then I also wonder how other Parents who like me haven't had to worry about that, as previously all the food was home cooked & additive free, yet suddenly it seems its not, but we haven't been told - I only know because I'm having problems & DDs has relevant intolerances

& TBH I do think its WRONG that you can't trust them to safely feed our kids anymore I mean FFS what about the kids on free school meals & allergies etc - they may well be relying on that meal, yet can't because they are unlucky enough to have an allergy of intolerance - surely that can't be right hmm

We will end up giving up & going back to packed lunch - but just recently what with a run of bad luck, illness, & accidents & hospital to contend with, being able to put her in for School lunch again seemed like a Godsend --- & she does like to sit & eat a hot meal with her friends

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