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PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2010 11:55 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2010 2:29 pm
Posts: 7
Hello all

I was just wondering if anyone can tell me how you/your teacher/your school handles hot lunches in the classroom. Hot lunches will be coming in on a weekly basis to my son's grade 2 class. My son is anaphylactic to egg and sesame, and there is a very good chance that both of these will be coming in en masse in the form of caesar salads and buns for chicken sandwiches. I would feel strange influencing people's menu choices, but I also find it strange that a school would actually actively bring a known allergen into the classroom. The teacher - and I - are not sure how to handle this. I should mention that supervision is currently in the form of 1 teacher rotating between six classrooms, and that even though students are supposed to wash their hands after eating this doesn't always happen. My son is good about eating only what I provide for him and washing his hands, but he also often puts his hands in his mouth and will probably be seated next to someone eating one of these menu items. Though he has been shown how to use his epipen, I don't believe he himself would be prepared to use it. The teacher has put a whistle in the doorway so help can be called for immediately should there be a problem. Would you feel comfortable with this situation? I'd appreciate any advice. Thank you!


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2010 7:31 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 17, 2009 9:23 pm
Posts: 129
Hi-my son is in grade 2. We do not have any food restrictions at our school (australia). My son has had in the last 18 months-anaphylaxis to peanut, barley and sunflower-barley and sunflower being the most difficult to identify quickly and obviously in foods. He is also allergic to sesame and tree nuts.
Every day he is exposed to children eating around him-peanut butter, vegemite (our national spread-packed with barley) and breads with sunflower seeds in them. Our school manages all food allergies the same way-avoiding ingestion-no food sharing, only eating what your parents have provided or ordered for you, hand washing, supervised eating (eating is done sitting down over a short period and then food is removed and put away-hand washing follows-children are not allowed to get up and wander around when eating).
This works great and is what is expected by every child in the school. It would not occur to most of them to offer food to any other child as it is drummed into them from day one-no food sharing.
In the younger grades (my son did not have food allergies then) they ask (but dont ban) parents to be aware that there is a child with.....food allergy and could they avoid......in the lunch box.
I personally dont think you can ban one food that one child is allergic to without doing the same for every other allergic child....it then gets to the ridiculous point of where do you stop-especially with allergies such as ours that are non top 8-sunflower now being recognised as having at least an equal, if not more severe allergenic effects as peanut is susceptable individuals.
Good luck! Remind your child never to share food and to always wash their hands-perhaps the teacher can reinforce this too.

_________________
twin boys-
c-eosinophilic oesophagitis
j-avoids peanut, sunflower, pineapple all ana-sensitised to maccadaemia.pecan.Passed barley (previous ana) last year...out grew egg ana and peanut at 3 years..became re sensitised with ana at 6 years to peanut.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2010 8:20 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2008 9:40 pm
Posts: 2034
Location: ottawa
I'm curious, are the sesame seeds on the buns or a bread product with a 'may contain sesame'?
I would have a huge issue if the seeds were on the buns (whole form) but as 99% of bread products have a may contain for sesame it to me would be unrealistic to expect all bread products to be restricted. As Caz said that is where the no sharing, washing hands and hopefully a thorough wipe of desks and sweeping up crumbs would come in.
If the hot lunch sandwiches do have sesame seeds on them I'm sure that is a reasonable request to ask for a different bread product to be used.

_________________
DD 12 yrs -no allergies
4 yr old DS - asthma/eczema Anaphylactic to Peanuts, all tree nuts, sesame , all pea/lentil legumes, gelatin.
Allergic to trees, grass,ragweed, feathers, dander, mold and dust.
Outgrew eggs, fish, shellfish


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2010 11:01 am 
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Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2010 2:29 pm
Posts: 7
Thank you Caz and BC for your responses. I agree that emphasis on no food-sharing and handwashing is essential. The problem in my son's class is that there's not usually someone there to make sure these things are being done (so far is only circulating teachers peeking in now and then), though I do know that my son's wonderful teacher has made a point of trying to be there when duty schedule allows in order to establish these very important habits. If constant adult superivision was allowed/provided I would feel far more comfortable with allergens coming in.

As for the bread/buns for the chicken sandwiches, I spoke to the owner of the restaurant who will be providing the hot lunches and while he will be trying to avoid the use of sesame buns (actual seeds on it) for the sandwiches, it depends on what's available from his supplier. What makes it so awkward also is that orders for hot lunches have to be in by monday (hard-and-fast rule) and the propietor of the restaurant won't know until after that whether sesame or sesame-free buns will be used. So even if the teacher sees fit to ask parents to refrain from ordering that item for their children (most people usually order pizza), it may be that she's asking people to not order something that would actually be allergen-free. I guess I, like many allergy parents, am always walking the line between my child's safety and his psychological well-being (don't want him to feel kickback from irritated parents etc). Bottom line is I am extremely uncomfortable with sesame buns coming in to the class like that (ie sanctioned by the school) and feel it would just give people carte blanche to send sesame in every day. I guess I could have my son eat elsewhere once a week and ask for a thorough cleaning of his classroom (though even the thorough cleaning's not necessarily possible), but for me that is a distant 2nd solution. I would like that particular food item not to be available to my son's class, but is that too much to ask? I think at my son's school pizza still comes into classrooms where kids are allergic to dairy, for example.

Thank you both again for your points of view. It's great to get other perspectives on things. I always find it hard to know what's reasonable or not.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 15, 2010 11:14 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 05, 2005 12:53 am
Posts: 375
Location: Alberta
My son is in Grade 5 now, and has been sitting through hot lunch since Grade 2 - I used to bring him home every day for lunch, but he started staying in Grade 2. He is ana to milk (and nuts), so every day just about every kid in the class has something in their lunch that he is allergic to. Initially, the teachers and I just worked out that he should isolate his desk from the others, creating an island of sorts for him. Sometimes he would eat at the work table, and he was allowed to bring 1 other child over to sit with him. By Grade 4 he was pretty much just watching out for what others were eating / doing with their food.

I've never really worried that much about cross-contamination, because our allergist strongly educated us early on that any allergen has to be ingested to cause anaphylaxis. My son has developed occasional contact hives - surely caused by touching something in the class that had cheese / yogurt etc on it, but that's it.

For the record, he has had ana to minute amounts of milk in the past, so the risk is always very real for him ... but he has always been taught to manage his own allergens, and I trust him. Lucky for us, teachers at our school supervise lunch in the class! I wouldn't have felt as comfortable if it were Grade 6 students or a free-for-all in the gym like in some schools!


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