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Allergies and intolerances

healthy eating policy = more nuts in school

23 replies

tatt · 16/09/2006 21:55

I'm dismayed to discover that the school my nut allergic child attends has introduced packs of nuts as part of its healthy eating policy. This is encouraged by the government. I'm even more annoyed that they did not see fit to warn me. My child is not the only nut allergic kid at the school but I only know one of the parents of the other children (there were at least 6 last year ).

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WriggleJiggle · 17/09/2006 18:57

Thats shocking! Their health and safety risk assessment is somewhat lacking. I hope you manage to get them to change their mind, the school should really be nut free if there are any nut allergies around.

youknowyouloveitCOD · 17/09/2006 19:05

where as i really sympathise about your kids allergy i dont htink that a whoel school policy is needed.
surely kdis have always had this illness and schools have had nuts.

i ma sure abroad theywoudlnt have such hysteria

NotQuiteCockney · 17/09/2006 19:06

Depends what you mean by "abroad", Cod. Lots of Canadian schools are entirely nut-free, and that's in a place where peanut butter is a food staple.

tamum · 17/09/2006 19:09

Hmmm. Ds has a walnut allergy, and carries an epipen, but I don't think he's at risk from other children eating nuts. His friend, who has a peanut allergy, would be very much at risk though- even trace amounts on another child's fingers would be a huge problem for him. Their school has been nut free for ages because there are quite a few children with severe allergies. I really don't think they should be actively introducing packets of nuts into schools.

brimfull · 17/09/2006 19:57

Is this a senior school,as I think nut allergic children are expected to cope with this at senior level.MY ds has nut allergy,he reacts from second hand skin contact so I would be quite worried about it at infant level.I think allergic kids do need to learn to cope with these dangers but at an appropriate age ie.10 and up.

tatt · 18/09/2006 17:03

yes its a secondary school. My child has an allergy to all nuts, including peanut and carries epipens. I know they have to learn to cope with this as an adult but nuts are not an essential part of the diet, peanut protein is not easily removed from other surfaces, my child has reacted to traces of peanut protein on a surface before. It is good to have part of the day when you can feel they are reasonably safe and you don't have to worry quite as much. Secondary level children are more at risk, statistically, than younger children.

I wish, cod, you could watch an anaphylactic reaction yourself - so you would be more understanding. People who have to watch one can find it very distressing, even if they have no relationship to the one having the reaction. But perhaps if you or your child caused a death it wouldn't bother you.

More importantly if they are doing this at secondary school they may also be doing it at primary - and not telling the parents. I would not have known about this if the anaphylaxis campaign newsletter had not mentioned the possibility.

OP posts:
onehappymummy · 18/09/2006 17:46

I think the introduction of healthy snacks
(ie. nuts) in schools is absolutely disgusting!!! Nut allergies are life threatening!!! Trying to get children to eat healthy snacks at school should not be down to the school system...this should lie solely with parents....and come on....I've eaten c~'p food throughout my life but I'm not obese. It's called self control.
I'm very opinionated as you can see but my DS has a peanut allergy and seeing any type of allergic reaction (especially your own child) is scary, shocking, frightening and any other emotion you fancy throwing in.
Ban nuts I say!!

hulababy · 18/09/2006 17:49

DD's school has a healthy eating policy. Parents provide a healthy snack for break time. Fruit and veg are advised and NO nuts are allowed at all.

onehappymummy · 18/09/2006 17:55

Exactly - fruit and veg are perfectly healthy enough and don't cause much risk (or not that I am aware of)to anyone with allergies.

I know of one lad that was chased around school by bullies with a packet of peanuts. He was obviously allergic to them.

I'm afraid it's down to parents to educate their children and not just regarding allergies. It's getting the balance right with life in general and our own morals isn't it?

alison222 · 18/09/2006 18:09

DS 's school has banned nuts. It is a primary school. Tehy have some children who are allergic - inc DS who is allergic to almonds, but I don't know how serious the others allergies are

shatteredmumsrus · 18/09/2006 18:38

We have just had a letter from the infant school saying that they have a new pupil who is allergic to nuts and could we not send them in their packed lunches. I quite agree that it is necessary to ban them due to the allergic reactions.

brimfull · 19/09/2006 00:01

tatt,I do agree with you ,my ds is allegic to nuts aswell and we have an epipen.Have you been to one of the parent workshops run by the anaphylaxis campaign.It was mostly parents of senior school age children there. This was discussed at full length there and I came away feeling really sorry for milk allergic kids as they'll never ban that.But I take your point about peanut oil being hard to shift.
I am not at your stage yet,my dd is in senior school but luckily has no allergies anymore.She says they don't sell nuts at her school yet,asked her tonight.

christie1 · 19/09/2006 00:38

had to jump in here, I am canadian and there is no shcool in canada that is not nut free. It may vary ie only the classroom where the child is, or the whole school. My dd's first school posted a large peanut on the door with an x through it and a sign indicating no nuts allowed. It is so common now that parents don't even argue the point, they just know they can't send nuts to school. While we stay on guard, it sure makes things easier. In fact where I live a law was passed last year that all shcool boards must have an action plan to deal with life threatening allergies.

christie1 · 19/09/2006 00:41

Also had to add, I don't like the word hysteria. We parents of nut allergic children are not hysterical but following medical advice. Unless you live with it, you should be more sensitive. Until you have had your dh holding her child in his arms while you inject an epipen into her leg to open her airway because she is vomiting and wheezing, cramping and trying to breath from a food, don't judge. I have and we all share this challenge and every little bit helps us.

tatt · 21/09/2006 09:12

yes I've been to an anphylaxis meet up, although not recently. I agree milk allergy is harder on the families but fortunately most outgrow anaphylactic reactions to milk, I'm not aware of any at the schools mine have attended. And peanuts are deliberately thrown at the nut allergic in some schools. It happened to an older child at the school mine attends, although I don't know if it was in or out of school or if the child's parents/ school knew about it. I'd asked how allergic she was and her friend said "well her face swells when you throw peanuts at her". Mine had just started and didn't want to make a fuss finding out the child's name/ telling her parents.

However I'm most concerned that other parents are warned as this could be happeing in primary schools - and only the totally selfish/ heartless would think that is acceptable.

OP posts:
maycontainstress · 21/09/2006 09:23

In our primary school, healthy snacks are encouraged, nuts are not. I feel strongly about this issue, though my children do not have the allergy, it is serious. My children eat nuts at home, there's no reason to send them to school, none whatsoever.

coral · 21/09/2006 13:20

Hmmm - very intersting thread which has raised itself at my dd's school this year, where due to a child starting who has severe peanut allergy this year, nuts have been banned - masses of talk in school and out about nuts etc and the risks they pose to this particular child and how everyone should be really careful.

My dd (aged 9) is in her 3rd year at this school. Carries epipens and is severly allergic -her symptoms are brought on by external exposure as well as internal. No mention has been made before in school assemblies about everyone being careful (although her class and teachers have always been excellent about it) and neither my dd or indeed myself have been consulted about this new policy. Why? Because she is not anaphylactic to nuts but to dairy - yes she is one of the extreme few who is just as allergic now as she was 9 years ago when she first went into shock!

So, whilst I agree with the school that a nut ban is appropriate, I am really cross and saddened that, in all of this, we are completely ignored because you just do not ban milk. In my opinion (and I have been discussing this with the Head because I am quite cross about the whole way the allergy issue has been raised) should they not be taking more notice of the milk allergic child (when you just cannot even try to erradicate the allergen from the school) to take steps to keep her safe too? I am just thankful and relieved that my dd is just so clued up and sensible that she can look after herself extremely well, has effective and tried and tested strategies to carry out continual risk assesments of her own accord, and doesn't need to rely on anyone else to keep herself safe.

Is there anyone else on here who has a school aged child who is anyphalactic to something other than nuts? If so, how has the school tackled it? Or have you, like me, given up on the school to take any steps and have concentrated on teaching your child effective life saving strategies to enable them to take responsibility for themselves to keep as safe as possible?

HRHQueenOfQuotes · 21/09/2006 13:22

Gosh that sounds appalling. DS1's school is nut free this year - as a child that's just started reception has a severe nut allergy - last year they were allowed nuts as there was none.

FlameSparrow · 21/09/2006 13:28

I assumed it was standard at all schools now to have a complete nut ban.

FlameSparrow · 21/09/2006 13:29

I assumed it was standard at all schools now to have a complete nut ban.

brimfull · 21/09/2006 22:26

Coral,exactly what I was referring to in my post.I think the public assume nuts are the only really serious allergy around.Although the junior school in our town has banned shellfish aswell now.
I do think nuts should continue to be banned but we really need to concentrate on educating people on the seriousness of all allergies and teaching our allergic children to cope like your dd.
Maybe it should be a topic included in the health and social learning at school.

tatt · 22/09/2006 09:41

coral Although I don't have a child with anaphylactic reactions to anything else I know other families who have. I also had to train my children's primary school about allergies. The anaphylaxis campaign regional organisers will sometimes attend meetings at the school with you. There are a range of measures you can ask for - like having a " free from " table, which is cleaned appropriately to remove potential allergens. You can ask that teachers don't hand out chocolate to the children / allow it into school (healthy eating policy should make that easier) as that obviously has more risk of being smeared around. You can ask for the kids to be trained in not sharing food with other children. There are anaphylaxis campaign videos suitable for showing to children. You could even ask if you can do a presentation at, say, a parents association meeting as some parents I know have done.

Obviously you want staff at the school trained in how to adminster an epipen and a system in place for ensuring that new staff are aware of the allergy - photos on the register are good practise. I don't visit here often but you're welcome to contact me if you want to "talk" about the problem. If you aren't already a member of the anaphylaxis campaign its worth joining - but you can attend a meet up without joining and you will pick up lots from the other parents.

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ke127106uk · 22/09/2006 09:51

I have AGAIN written to DFES/Food in Schools etc. about this issue - still waiting for acknowledgement and some feedback.

Pop along to our site at
leave your comments and bookmark us, we are contacting schools to see what their policies are.

As a mom of severely nut allergic child, I'm horrified that men in suits can say kids have to eat "healthy" snacks like nuts - huh, my kid won't be very healthy if she eats em!!

Keep Smilin' - Ke

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