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To think this 'nut free policy' is OTT for a school

(745 Posts)
MerryMarigold Thu 21-Jul-16 10:42:20

So, letter home about next term's 'nut free' policy and I think it's a bit extreme but tell me what you think. In packed lunches (I will have 3 having packed lunch next year), we are not allowed to include:

- Fruit and cereal bars which contain nuts
- Sesame seed rolls
- Nutella
- Peanut butter
- Cakes made with nuts
- Muesli bars
- Baklava/ Nougat/ Turkish Delight
- Any packets of nuts

I would assume we are not allowed to give them pistachios in a Tupperware box either.

Anyway, my point is that how can they police it this closely? I know some kids cannot come into ANY contact with nuts, but for example, my kids would have nuts in granola at breakfast and probably not always wash their hands before school (if they remembered to clean their teeth when they first get up). I also refuse to check the ingredient list of everything I put into a packed lunch for 3 children so there are bound to be nuts in something they end up having.

Nuts are very healthy and nutritious, so we basically need to swap nut based products for something less healthy. I am most upset about the Muesli bars and no cakes made with nuts. Ds1 is a major food-refuser. He has never managed school dinners and food at home is an issue too. He nearly always has a muesli bar in his lunch, which I suppose I will need to substitute with biscuits. And sometimes I would include cakes made with nuts just to up his nutrition at lunchtime a bit. He doesn't like any form of meat, fish or cheese in his sandwiches.

I do sympathise that there are (a very few) people who have a 'life threatening reaction to nut products' (quoted on the 'nut free policy' letter). However, I would assume they do carry an epi-pen as it is impossible to create a completely nut free environment in a large school of children who are eating nuts at least at home. So, in reality it is not life threatening unless there is a child who has an unknown severe nut allergy. I would even be compassionate if it was stated that a child (without mentioning names) had had a reaction several times in school, but I very much doubt a child has reacted at school, and there may not even be a child with a severe nut allergy, so this is just scare mongering really.

SO, I do need to feel more positive about this and the extra work it will cause me, the extra moaning from my child and the reduction in nutrition. Please tell me off gently! I've had a bad night with not much sleep though, so please bear with me.

elodie2000 Thu 21-Jul-16 10:46:28

I'm wondering how children with nut allergies deal with their situation when they go to secondary school. I've never taught in one with a nut ban.
Does your DC's school/ class have a pupil with a really severe allergy OP?

MerryMarigold Thu 21-Jul-16 10:50:01

elodie, I have no idea as the letter says nothing other than the school is going 'nut free'. I really think with more than a quarter of staff leaving this year that they should have bigger worries. But anyway...

elodie2000 Thu 21-Jul-16 10:51:05

As for your DC's 'reduction in nutrition' - That's a bit OTT OP! They're not going to suffer.
The list is an absolute PITA and everyone will have to think about what to pack just a bit more.
I don't know... I'm sure someone will come on soon and tell you all about swollen necks/ trouble breathing. It's a serious thing for some.

UnicornMadeOfPinkGlitter Thu 21-Jul-16 10:52:10

I'm assuming they think that primary age school children are more likely to share lunches or not he as aware about the allergies. Whereas by secondary school they should be able to manage them themselves.

I'm not sure where all these allergies come from. I don't remember anyone having a nut allergy at primary school myself (I'm 40) I remember a lot of hayfever but it was unusual to have any other type of allergy.

What are they doing to our food to cause them to be more prevalent.

Mouikey Thu 21-Jul-16 10:52:35

YABU, sorry. Totally understand what you are saying, but think if the shoe was on the other foot and it is your child with the allergy? It maybe that a new child is attending and they are super duper allergic and the school wants to give as much notice to all parents as possible.

If you have any idea what it is like to use an epi-pen you would understand why you wouldn't ever want to use it. Indeed, most people don't realise that epi-pens don't actually stop the reaction, they just relieve it, giving enough time for an ambulance to arrive - thats why most people with such allergies need to carry two on them at all times (not one on them and one at home!!). If the ambulance does not arrive in time, the symptoms will persist and in some instances cause the life threatening issues you have set aside.

Not trying to be harsh on you because it is difficult, but I do think YABU (sorry).

MiddleClassProblem Thu 21-Jul-16 10:52:36

Maybe there is a child with a servers allergy and they are trying to minimise the risk their end

MerryMarigold Thu 21-Jul-16 10:52:44

Certainly not in dc class as we have brought food for school parties at xmas and this week and there was no big deal made about nuts. Eg. I was asked for flapjack and if I'd made it I would have put nuts in. I bought it, but I didn't check ingredients.

SpeakNoWords Thu 21-Jul-16 10:53:23

I would imagine that secondary age children with severe nut allergies are able to make sensible decisions compared to a child in a reception class for example. So an 11 year old could be reasonably expected not to touch or eat food from someone else's lunch box, whereas a 5 year old wouldn't be expected to necessarily understand that completely.

Lunch time in a primary school is a clear risk for children with a severe nut allergy, and asking parents not to deliberately put nuts in lunch boxes seems a reasonable way of reducing (not eliminating) the risk. It's a pain, but the school wouldn't be doing this without good reason. An epi-pen isn't a cure for anaphylaxis, it is a stop gap to enable you to get to hospital.

Could you make your own muesli bars that don't contain nuts? Are there any seeds that are allowed, as you could use those instead?

MrsFarm Thu 21-Jul-16 10:53:28

There is obviously a child or children with severe nut allergies - so give the parents of these kids a break and don't give the items listed to your kids, it's one meal a day. You can give them them a bag of nuts for dinner if you want to.

IceRoadDucker Thu 21-Jul-16 10:53:34

If they've just introduced this, my first thought would be a new child is joining who has a very severe allergy. If that isn't the case then yes, I think it's OTT.

GruffaloPants Thu 21-Jul-16 10:53:48

The more exposures a nut allergic person has, the more severe their reaction can become.

So someone who has a relatively mild reaction can escalate over time to anaphylaxis. So reducing exposure is important. My daughter used to be allergic to milk and eggs and we had to be very careful to stop exposure, even though she didn't have full anaphylaxis. Thankfully she grew out of the allergy. She may not have done if she had had more exposures.

Having to be injected with adrenalin is a serious medical emergency, you don't just have a quick jab and get on with your day. It doesn't always work. People, children, still die.

I don't have a nut allergic child but I feel YABU and a bit selfish.

There are plenty of cereal and fruit bats that don't contain nuts. There are plenty of homemade and shop bought cakes that don't contain nuts.

MrsJoeyMaynard Thu 21-Jul-16 10:54:03

I didn't know Turkish delight contained nuts?

elodie2000 Thu 21-Jul-16 10:54:25

Xpost I agree, primary schools seems to be obsessed with Nuts.
Just go with it - for whatever reason. It's a PITA & secondary schools don't seem to buy into nut bans for some reason!

Karmin Thu 21-Jul-16 10:55:11

Yes nuts are very healthy but are also very deadly for some people, I am sure your DS can have nuts after school.

It isn't extra work and nutrition should be balanced over the course of the day. Young children are more inclined to share and be less aware of the risks to themselves so may accept something with nuts in that an older child would know to avoid.

At our first school there is a blanket no eggs, no nuts policy, I do not need to know any details other than that as it is none of my business that actually it is because of little Jonny in 4C and he has had a severe reaction 4 times. It is one of those things that you go ok then I will give my DC eggs and Nuts at other times and not increase the risk to someone else child.

I think the question really should be, is my choice for my child to have nuts regularly worth impacting some other childs life?

IAmNotAWitch Thu 21-Jul-16 10:56:41

Nut bans are bloody stupid and counterintuitive.

Best for a nut allergic child to assume EVERYONE else's food is full of nuts. NOT that they have correctly observed the rules and that they are therefore 'safe'.

Pootles2010 Thu 21-Jul-16 10:57:09

I would assume its a child starting in September, if its for the new term, so probably a four or five year old, who isn't old enough to be careful with what they eat etc.

It's really not scare mongering, it really is a life or death situation, truly.

middlings Thu 21-Jul-16 10:57:11


And if your child had a nut allergy, I'm quite certain you would be in support of this.

Someone can die in the time it takes to get the epipen.

MilkTwoSugarsThanks Thu 21-Jul-16 10:57:20

I'm torn on this one.

One of DS's good friends has a severe nut allergy and I can't begin to imagine the worry of having a child that could die from it.

BUT - I don't think it's right to expect every single parent to stand in Saimsburys reading the ingredients list of every single thing they buy just in case their DC take some of it to school.

NellysKnickers Thu 21-Jul-16 10:57:57

Re your last comment OP :The biggest worry as a parent of a child with a nut allergy is your child going into anaphylactic shock and dying not staffing issues at school. Sorry that you may find providing a packed lunch more difficult now but surely a child (albeit not your own) not suffering is the priority?

MrsFarm Thu 21-Jul-16 10:59:46

You will only need to read the ingredients once, unless you are very forgetful.

NellysKnickers Thu 21-Jul-16 10:59:54

Sorry, comment at 10.50 am, real life got in the way there for a moment!

Crystalline Thu 21-Jul-16 11:00:41

I think the policy as you have stated it is pretty standard in nurseries and primary schools and not at all unusual.

aprilanne Thu 21-Jul-16 11:00:54

YABVU my sons girlfriend has a severe nut allergy .even he cannot take anything with nuts included .it is a serious condition .i am sure you can buy alternatives and taking 10 minutes to check they have a nut free packed lunch is nothing .my sons schools introduced this ban a lot of years ago .

MerryMarigold Thu 21-Jul-16 11:02:01

Thanks Mouikey. I do need to hear things like that. I guess they are trying to minimise risk (because it is impossible to get rid of it) but I think greater transparency is better. If they said a there is a child in school with a severe allergy and blah blah it would be clearer, although I think it would be more helpful for parents of that child's class/ their friends to know about it. I think any children with nut allergies would be briefed by parents not to have any food from other children, even from Reception age, and for midday staff to keep a close eye on that child. I do get severe allergic reactions and have had epi pens myself (though never used but no one worked out what it was to (the worst one was for 3 months after I had twins). I am maybe more blasé about it as a result, and if it were my DC, I would feel safe so long as they had the pen, and knew they were not to eat food from anyone in school.

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