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Intolerant Year 3 DD been allowed to Choose Wrong Food Stuffs at School Meals - Whose Responsible??

(51 Posts)
rockinhippy Thu 16-Jun-11 21:31:59

DD has an IBS diagnosis, triggers been stress, Lactose & Food additives, artificial sweeteners, preservatives, colours etc - common triggers according to her Gastro specialist & Dietician, but because we are used to dealing with it, know her triggers etc, we mostly manage it well & shes not often ill any more,

DDS School has a new cook, up to now I have been patient as I understand a lot of kids to cope with & DD doesn't usually have school meals - mainly because DD complains she doesn't like new cooks food - lots of pizza with onions confused etc etc - so I mostly give her packed lunches, but my own health problems mean I sometimes need a break & do put her in for some School meals - with the previous Cook we NEVER had any problems with this & DD was never given/allowed to choose foods that would make her ill.

a few weeks ago Dd was given a cheese wrap as apparently they had ran out of vegetarian food, or so DD thought - cue raging diareah & stomach pain that night & the next morninghmm

I updated DDs allergy note, adding a photo & clear instructions on what she can & can't safely eat, thinking this would help new cook - handed it into the office, who assured me cook HAD been told of DDs problems already - which I trust to be the truth - next School lunch she has her School friends Mum who works there spots DD with a food she thought she couldn't eat & queried it with the cook - cook insists she knows nothing about DDs problems confused

So I speak with office again, & give more copies of print out with photo - office annoyed - not with me - says cook DEFINITELY knows, but she will pass on.

Tonight I have only just managed to get DD to bed, doubled up with stomach pain & diareah since 7pm - because she was given a cheese ploughmans & yoghurt for School lunch angry

I'm really pissed off about it, as chances are DD will be ill in the morning too & may not even be well enough for School angry & I'm thinking of putting a formal complaint in writing as regards new cook ignoring allergy advice given.

BUT my question is --at age 8 - year 3 - would DD be expected to make a decision for herself?? - she is bright, old for her age, so I do encourage her to take responsibility for herself & she does know some things can make her very ill & she shouldn't eat them - but she loves cheese & didn't like the other option as it was full of onion, which she hates (don't all kidsconfused ?? - she can eat some cheeses, but not the basic mild cheap cheddar they would serve at school & gets confused - she also gets confues with live yogurt been okay & other not.

So can anyone please tell me, from a Schools point of view, am I right to complain over this cook ??


( & please excuse waffle typos etc blush - fighting migraine from hell )

mrz Thu 16-Jun-11 21:53:00

I would expect an 8 year old to be aware and to speak up. We have much younger children who know which foods they need to avoid. From your post it seems your daughters love of cheese sometimes gets the better of her.

MollieO Thu 16-Jun-11 21:55:59

My Ds is 6 and able to choose what is suitable to eat. If your dd is struggling can't you go through the menu with her and agree what she should choose?

EustaciaVye Thu 16-Jun-11 21:58:16

I think your daughter at age 8 should know what she can and cant eat but you need to find out if she is choosing the wrong option, or being given the wrong option. As there is quite a difference.

Goblinchild Thu 16-Jun-11 22:00:14

Do you get the menu for the week in advance?
So you could highlight her choices if you are dead set on her having a school dinner rather than a packed lunch. School could also check daily to ensure that a portion of what she can eat is set aside, so they don't run out of it.
yes, at Y3 as she doesn't have learning difficulties, she should be more responsible about obvious bad choices.

mercibucket Thu 16-Jun-11 22:02:41

sorry, I don't think she should even be having school dinners if she can't make the right choices
you were lucky the last cook went along with it tbh, there's no way they would at our children's school. we have veggie meals or non veggie and that's it - if it doesn't suit, then you do packed lunches

rockinhippy Thu 16-Jun-11 22:05:33

Thanks - unfortunately not - there is a menu, but seems the new cook don't always stick to it any more - something DD herself has complained about. as she's asked for School lunch as its a favourite on the menu - & then its been something else confused

& I think a big part of the problem from talking to DD is her presuming if is been given her cheese, it must be the type she CAN eat - for example she can eat mature cheddar which she gets at home, but not mild - have spoken to her again at length about it - but starting to think no more School lunches

she is usually very good at not eating stuff that makes her ill - but I think also new cooks love of putting onions in everything (according to DD & a couple of her friends) isn't helping either confused

Goblinchild Thu 16-Jun-11 22:05:51

At 8, she is perfectly capable of making her own packed lunch as well.
My son has a sandwich, apple, carrot and cucumber sticks and a biscuit.
How hard is that for her to stick in a lunchbox?

tkband3 Thu 16-Jun-11 22:06:38

My DD was diagnosed with coeliac disease before she was 3 and very soon was aware enough of her dietary issues to know that she should ask if something had gluten in it before eating it (if it was coming from an unknown source).

The school are well aware of her issues and would never knowingly give her (or her sisters, who are also coeliac) something with gluten in. The teachers have sometimes phoned me when the class has been having a treat and they are not sure if something is ok for them to eat. At other times, the teacher has gone out of their way to bring in something gluten free especially for them.

They do have packed lunches though - the school is nut free but they do not offer gluten free options. There are photos of all the children who have any sort of dietary problem next to the serving hatch, so the dinner ladies can be sure they are eating the right foods - even of my DDs who don't have school dinners!

I've rambled, but in brief, I would expect your DD to know at 8 what she can and can't eat, and to choose appropriately. But I would also expect the school to be very aware of her dietary issues and to be helping her not to make bad choices.

rockinhippy Thu 16-Jun-11 22:08:36

We normally DO give her packed lunches - she gets school meals when I am ill or there is something she likes that day - she is been given the food

katz Thu 16-Jun-11 22:09:31

i have to agree with other at 8 your DD should know what she can't eat and challenge it if fed it. My DD has just turned 6 and she's know for the past 2 years what she can and can't have at school dinners. Like your DD she suffers from d and v if she eats the wrong things. She's quite forth right about being fed the wrong things but then she hates being ill.

School should however be monitoring this.

thisisyesterday Thu 16-Jun-11 22:10:28

i do think that your daughter ought to know what she is and isn't allowed, but depending on what kind of child she is it can be hard, especially if someone in authority is telling you it's ok to eat

i would be very, very, very cross with them. if they have a print-out with a picture and detailed instructions then there is absolutely NO excuse not to follow them.
what would they do if she had an allergy?????

Goblinchild Thu 16-Jun-11 22:13:56

We have children with a range of allergies in my school, and we see it a a partnership to encourage independence. The older they get, the more responsibility they take, as well as the school putting strategies into place and monitoring it on a daily basis.
You could talk to the school in more detail about last-minute changes, clarify the rules for your DD such as no cheese at all unless at home.
get what is agreed written down, email communications gives you a record.

blackeyedsusan Thu 16-Jun-11 22:15:18

if she wstarts to have days off/ is late in because she has not recovered from stomach cramps then they will soon start to notice....

this any good?

rockinhippy Thu 16-Jun-11 22:20:07

thisisyesterday - you hit the nail exactly on the head with especially if someone in authority is telling you it's ok to eat

She DOES know what she can & can't eat & will always make the right choices at a party etc - but doesn't like to offend the cook who gives her the wrong stuff by saying no - which from my point of veiw is hair tearing, but I jut can't get through to her over it confused

I've rambled, but in brief, I would expect your DD to know at 8 what she can and can't eat, and to choose appropriately. But I would also expect the school to be very aware of her dietary issues and to be helping her not to make bad choices - thats pretty much it & how its worked in the past tkband

& she CAN goblin but its not quite that straight forward with packed lunches either as she can't eat a lot of wheat, or that too will cause problems - so can't have bread everyday, so I have to alternate making wheat free wraps with other wheat freestuff & bread a few times a week

thisisyesterday Thu 16-Jun-11 23:10:09

i would talk to the school and explain that this keeps happening and that you are concerned both about her health and about the fact that it may mean her missing school if she is unwell

then ask them how you can proceed with this and be sure that she will not be given things she can't eat.

for example, would her teacher be able to just keep an eye on her as she gets her lunch and ensure she is getting something suitable?

regardless of how old she is and whether people believe she ought to be able to make the right decisions, the school also have a responsibility to keep her safe and healthy while she is in their care. If they cannot do this then I would be complaining very loudly.
as i said before, if she had an allergy they would HAVE to make sure she was not given anything unsuitable, and it sounds as though they have the same measures in place (picture, description of what she can/can't have) as they would for children with allergies... so if the cook cannot stick to that then they have a big problem on their hands

i think the problem with intolerances is, as you say, that sometimes small amounts of things, or differnt brands are ok. that can be confusing for people who don't live with it all the time.
ds2 is intolerant to dairy and egg, however it's easier for all of us if when he is at nursery he is on a vegan diet because then they don't have the added complication of thinking "hmmm he had a tiny bit of yoghurt yesterday, that means none today" or anything like that.

however, i realise at school your daughter may be left with very little choice if you have to ban entire food groups sad

seeker Thu 16-Jun-11 23:15:19

What's the difference between mild and mature cheddar in terms of allergy?


mathanxiety Fri 17-Jun-11 00:37:05

Can she bring your printout with her to lunch and hand it to the cook in person? She shouldn't have to, but it's plain that (1) the school office is not passing on the information, or (2) the cook is an ignoramus who thinks you are some sort of crackpot and your DD is a victim of PFB syndrome and that she knows better than you what's good for your DD, and (3) it would be easier for your DD to say 'No' to the cook if she had the detailed paperwork there to point to.

I don't understand why the school office is taking such umbrage at your attempts to communicate your DD's needs here. They should be passing on the info you have gone to the trouble of collecting, and they should be taking the time and trouble to tell the cook in no uncertain terms to follow your instructions. Why are you getting attitude from them?

Your DD needs to be able to say 'no thank you' confidently and pleasantly though. This is not the only time in her life she will be faced with people who think it's all a load of hot air and she has a good few years ahead of her dealing with authority figures.

cat64 Fri 17-Jun-11 00:57:48

Message withdrawn

cat64 Fri 17-Jun-11 00:59:09

Message withdrawn

rockinhippy Fri 17-Jun-11 10:45:51

What's the difference between mild and mature cheddar in terms of allergy

Hi seeker its down to the Lactose in the dairy, which is what makes her ill, rather than the actual dairy - something in the process of maturing cheeses makes the lactose less harmful - same with cooking cheese, milk etc & live yoghurt, as opposed to normal stuff.

& thanks everyone smile

I've ended up having to keep her home this morning sad - hoping she pulls herself together enough to go in this afternoon.

I have also sent a polite e-mail through to the School explaining WHY she is ill & therefore missing School & reminding them its something I've already raised concerns over & provided info for & I have attached a simplified, but more strongly worded info sheet for the cook - ie: due to a diagnosed medical condition, giving her any uncooked Dairy WILL make her ill.

I have also told DD that she cannot eat ANY uncooked Dairy at School Meals again - from talking to her this morning it seems she has presumed because its at School & they've always been great in the past, that anything she was offered was safe for her to eat sad

& otherwise its back to packed lunches & no wheat or dairy until her stomach settles properly again - shame as I was quite enjoying the breakhmm

rockinhippy Fri 17-Jun-11 11:01:21

& Mathanxiety yes I do wonder if the problem is my note been perceived as "PFB" crackpot by the new cook, unfortunately as you probably know too well, the eye rollers who don't understand that these intolerances can cause REAL problems for some are not uncommon hmm even my own parents are guilty - hence why I have now sent in an updated, much simplified & to the point dietary advice note for the cook - who is definitely the one not taking heed, the rest of the School staff, especially the office know DDs problems too well & they have always been brilliant over it all, so I don't doubt its the cook hmm

rockinhippy Fri 17-Jun-11 11:08:59

PS & I meant to add - thanks for the insight into how it works with the School kitchens & allergies - thats very helpful for explaining to DD how to help herself smile

JenaiMarrHePlaysGuitar Fri 17-Jun-11 11:21:44

That mature cheese thing - I seem to remember that that's why the first cheese I gave ds as a baby was parmigiana (on his baby pasta and mixed in with vegetables to bolster their calorie count). I think it's better tolerated than other cheeses because it's been matured for so long.

I have absolutely no idea where I got that from, mind. Probably Nigella. Ponce grin

OP, you clearly do need to have further words with the school. I'm sure your dd is perfectly capable of making her own choices but she's either choosing not to or being misled. Neither reflects well on the school cook.

UniS Fri 17-Jun-11 16:18:11

Is there another child who routinely has school lunches that looks like your DD or has a similar name? Has there been a mistaken identity thing going on with another child.

I could see a new staff member maybe getting confused between kate who has lunch every day except fridays and katie who is in the dinner hall once a week. By Year 3 MTAs at our school would not be hoovering by the serving hatch to check on what children are choosing in the way we do with Year R and 1. I guess your school offer more choice that ours. We have to mark teh dinner ticket for our child V for the veg option and leave blank for main choice. With in that the children may have to chose between pasta and wedges, peas and beans, main choice pud or yoghurt or fruit.

Thank you for updating your DDs photo and allergy sheet. I know as an MTA I didn't work out which of the many " Toms" had a food allergy for a number of weeks as the photo and sheet where so out of date I thought it was " Tom" 2 year groups younger.

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