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PostPosted: Mon Sep 05, 2011 9:36 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2008 11:22 am
Posts: 51
Location: Toronto, ON
Does anyone's school have a written protocol to address the circumstances when a banned allergen (such as peanuts) is inadvertently brought into the school? This is stemming from an incident our school experienced last year where a parent (a nurse believe it or not) brought nut-containing cakes balls to school and the teacher served them in the classroom. There are mixed stories as to how this happened, but the teacher says that the parent was asked if there were nuts and was told no (no label, no ingredients). One of the students raised the alarm after tasting the cake. Unfortunately, one child did end up reacting (even though she did not consume the caked) and had to have her epi-pen and go to hospital (approximately an hour later) likely from the cross contamination - the kids were eating with their hands and the oil was everywhere!! Yes...everything was done wrong, but thank goodness she was OK. I followed up with the school the next morning to insist on a thorough cleaning of all affected areas before I let my son attend his classes.

We are revamping the rules about food being brought into the school - ie. it must have a label and be nut-free if it is shared with the class or as part of an event. However, accidents will likely still happen, and as a result, we are planning to develop a protocol for the staff at the school, but I thought I would first see if we can 'borrow and/or build-off' one that already exists. I suspect the main contents would include:
- Who is to be alerted to the incident (ie. the office, parents of food-allergic children);
- What immediate action is to be taken to protect food-allergic students;
- How to clean any contaminated areas; and
- What action is to be taken to prevent a re-occurrence.

Thanks,
Fiona

_________________
Son 7 yrs: Anaphylactic to eggs, milk, fish, peanuts, tree nuts and allergic to soy, animals & environmental + Asthma.
Daughter 9 yrs: No allergies!
Me: Allergic to animals & environmental.
Hubby: Allergic to deer, horse flies & bees.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2011 4:03 pm 
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Joined: Thu Feb 26, 2009 12:05 am
Posts: 642
Location: AB, Canada
Your story is so awful and frightening!!

A friend with older kids recently told me that food had to either be in the original package with ingredients or with a recipe card attached - otherwise it was sent home with a reminder note.

I don't know about protocol, but I think there should almost be a reprimand system in place for the parent (difficult, I know!), people HAVE to take food allergies more seriously!!

:verymad

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DSs 7,7,9 all PA


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2011 8:09 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6456
Location: Ottawa
As long as food is shared, there is a risk. Most schools try to minimize the risk of exposure but recognize that even with a 'ban', there is a risk. To this end, shared treats should be discouraged and certainly our daughter is not allowed to eat anything unless my husband or I have ensured that it is safe every time.
School should be safe and inclusive. The focus should be on education. It is rare that food is necessary to the lesson plan.
Most recommendations are to limit the use of food/treats/consumables at all. I have to ask why we are hosting can drives for the food bank and fundraisers to water wells and then turning around and using food as a reward or entertainment.

To answer your questions:
Who is to be alerted to the incident (i.e. the office, parents of food-allergic children)
Those involved should be alerted, the person who brought the food in, the office and the parent of any child who was placed in danger. Statistics should be kept. This is what is called a "near miss".
School boards might also be interested in tracking this as it is a liability issue and may assist them in policy decisions.

What immediate action is to be taken to protect food-allergic students;
If a student with an allergen is suspected of eating an allergen to which they are prone to anaphylaxis, their personal anaphylaxis plan should be implemented. For my daughter, this means administering her Epipen and calling 911 followed by a call to us, her parents.
If a student has not eaten the food, they should leave the area and wash their hands. The food should be removed and the area cleaned (all surfaces and the floor vacuumed if it is carpet).
All students should throw out the food and wash their hands. Younger, messier students might be required to wash their faces as well.

How to clean any contaminated areas
Surfaces can be cleaned with soap and water. Hand sanitizers do not remove the allergen or alter the protein to make it less allergenic. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15131582

What action is to be taken to prevent a re-occurrence?
The best way to avoid such a situation is to limit the amount of food brought into the school and to discourage sharing.

_________________
Moderator
Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2011 7:00 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2008 9:40 pm
Posts: 2034
Location: ottawa
Quote:
Unfortunately, one child did end up reacting (even though she did not consume the caked) and had to have her epi-pen and go to hospital
:frightened
Quote:
We are revamping the rules about food being brought into the school - ie. it must have a label and be nut-free if it is shared with the class or as part of an event

I would start a great :mrgreen: communication link with your school trustee also. Keep emails CC'd to everyone, transparency and diplomacy go a long way.
Great start! Is there any way you could also try re vamp them to think of non food celebrations.
That to me is the direction all school boards should be going. Our school is going to complete NO food rewards this year (a few still snuck in last year :| ) and no food for birthdays or to share. This is a point I am holding them to and I will work closely :mrgreen: to ensure it is enforced.


I agree with Susan that school should track near miss incidents. I think their stats. are off due to not understanding reactions. In our daughters old school I knew myself of a near miss in which I would have used the epi.. Such incidents not being dealt with correctly leave their record clean and they can still say no child has ever had a reaction due to...etc etc..
I am glad that DS's school has moved this year to ban all butters including pn/sunbutter/pea butter/soy butter. They just all look too similar and smell too similar. I found last week when I was talking to them about my concerns over pea butter and peanut butter.

And re: the fact that schools should be about inclusion and fun and safe. Food is to nourish the body not to play with or be entertained with. Couldn't agree with that point more Susan.

_________________
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 07, 2011 8:39 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 17, 2009 9:23 pm
Posts: 129
This is exactly why we (in Vic aust) dont advise banning certain food products (eg 'nut free' policies).
How on earth do you police it? Does someone inspect every item of food that is brought in to the school? How do you know that people are 'honest' and not bringing in food with the banned substance? What are the implications and consequences of not obeying the 'rules' (none). How do you cater for those of us with 'non top 8 ' lifethreatening allergies-whats good for one surely has to be good for all-I know for a fact if we were to ban the things that my son is allergic to there would be many unhappy parents and children.
From our point of view it makes people complacent-they dont check the label 'every' time they eat a product and staff are surprised when reactions happen instead of ever being on the alert for the signs of anaphylaxis.

Get rid of the bans and get back to basic things like....handwashing....no food sharing....no food treats.....etc.

People will and do make mistakes...they forget and something like this can have lifethreating consequences. We have just come back from school camp for 3 days with 130 9yo kids-every single meal had at least 2-3 items that my son has lifethreatening allergic response to...people beside him eating barley, sunflower, and pineapple -he managed because he knew what HE was allowed to eat by having the ingredients checked by myself and the catering staff...the other kids knew to not share or offer food to him....they sat in the one spot eating....they cleaned up after themselves...and they all washed their hands...this camp would have been a bit dismal if all the food he was allergic to was banned-it can be managed well in other ways rather than banning.

_________________
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 07, 2011 8:34 pm 
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Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2008 11:22 am
Posts: 51
Location: Toronto, ON
Thanks! The school is supposed to be nut-free, but obviously from my son's list of allergies, it is not realistic to ban all his allergens. We have started the process of re-educating the school starting with three areas: 1. bake sales (a source of revenue for the PTA), 2. class parties and 3. training staff. We let the school know that our approach to discussing the issues associated with managing anaphylaxis at the school was informed by three key guidance principles:
1. Ensuring that the well-being and safety of all students is never compromised.
2. Ensuring that educational activities and opportunities at the school take priority over social activities.
3. Ensuring that all students can safely be included in celebratory and social events at the school.

The recommendations we have made so far include:
Bake Sales - All bake sale items must either:
- Have a label indicating all ingredients including the 'may contains', must be nut-free and comply with the Ontario Schools Food and Beverage Standards
- Be purchased from a school-approved, certified nut-free bakery and comply with the Ontario Schools Food and Beverage Standards
- Be a fresh fruit or vegetable
It is recognized that the bake sale is a source of revenue for the PTA, however, as many household kitchens are contaminated with nut products, it is simply not possible to have a nut-free bake sale if the items are baked in the home. In addition, without ingredient lists and the nutritional breakdowns for each item, it is not possible for the school to comply with the Ontario Schools Food and Beverage Standards which ban high fat, high sugar, low fibre and high salt foods from food products sold at schools.

2. Class Parties
- All reasonable efforts must be made to provide non-food alternatives for classroom celebrations - ie. games, arts and crafts, small gift items like pencils and erasers etc...
- Birthday parties at school must not involve food
- All seasonal celebratory class parties involving food must approved by the administration office and all parents must receive a list of 'approved' food items
- If food is to be brought into the classroom (for educational or celebratory reasons), it must have a label indicating all ingredients including the 'may contains' and must be nut free or be purchased from a school-approved, certified nut-free bakery (we are providing a list).

3. Allergy Policies and Staff Training
- To ensure compliance with Ontario's anaphylaxis legislation (Sabrina's law 2005), the school must have an up-to date anaphylaxis policy, and in particular ensure sufficient detail when outlining the strategies that reduce the risk of exposure to anaphylactic causative agents in classrooms and common school areas - (they should already have this - so hopefully this is just a reminder, we will see).
- The school must also have clear protocols in place for all staff to follow once an allergen, such as nuts, has been inadvertently brought into the school. This policy must specify who is to be alerted of the incident, what immediate action is to be taken to protect food-allergic students, how to clean any contaminated areas, and finally what action is to be taken to prevent a re-occurrence. (thank you for the specifics)!
- All staff must be trained on both the school's anaphylaxis policy (including all sub-sections, such as administering emergency medication including epinephrine auto-injectors) and the protocols to address any incidents where banned food items, such as nuts, are brought to the school.

This is what we are proposing so far and will be helping the administration re-train the staff. The good news is that today, on the first day of school, my son's teacher told him that the school is planning to institute a new policy of NO food in the classrooms :happydance (this was the same teacher who had the incident at the end of last year). We need to get more detail on exactly what that means and if it includes eliminating the seasonal parties (halloween and christmas etc...) as well as no more birthday parties and reward foods in the classrooms.

_________________
Son 7 yrs: Anaphylactic to eggs, milk, fish, peanuts, tree nuts and allergic to soy, animals & environmental + Asthma.
Daughter 9 yrs: No allergies!
Me: Allergic to animals & environmental.
Hubby: Allergic to deer, horse flies & bees.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2011 7:35 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2008 9:40 pm
Posts: 2034
Location: ottawa
I don't get why anyone feels the need to feed our kids crap while in school, regardless of allergies. DD's old school was awful for this. Probably 2x a week there were cupcakes or treats of some sort either from kids or from the teacher, sometimes even connected to class projects (science etc.). DD has no allergies but the food alone was an issue for me, constant food treats being fed her all the time.

Fiona mentioned this particular incident began when a food was handed out to the kids, thank goodness the allergic child didn't eat it (although the trace was enough for an ana. reaction/epi/trip to the hospital..awful, poor kid. What a traumatic experience..!!!).

Fiona, While the school is looking at this situation and any changes I would start with a real push for no food treats. The more I think about it the more it makes sense. With all the health issues and healthy issues schools should jump on the band wagon of healthier living. I think you should go full throttle ahead and really make a stand for no food rewards or treats.

_________________
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: Fri Sep 09, 2011 7:58 am 
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Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2008 11:22 am
Posts: 51
Location: Toronto, ON
Quote:
With all the health issues and healthy issues schools should jump on the band wagon of healthier living. I think you should go full throttle ahead and really make a stand for no food rewards or treats.


I agree! The incident seems to be really fresh in the administration's mind and was obviously a big topic of discussion before school started (the incident happened on the second-to-last day of school last year). The little girl who was affected also told her mom this week that in addition to no food in the classroom, the teachers are drilling the 'no sharing food' policy into the kids heads this week.

I need to find out more about what the announcement of 'no food in the classrooms' really means (I have been travelling for work this week, so DH has been handling the first week of school). I plan to be at our curriculum night in a couple of weeks, and am hoping to either provide a presentation to staff and parents about food allergies or at least ensure the school provides more specific detail about the no food in the classroom policy. Historically the school has had pizza days and bake sales once a month and BBQs in the spring/summer as well as halloween, christmas and valentine's class parties and at least once/month a birthday party in the classroom. According to their announcement, birthday parties are gone for good, but I am not sure about the other events. I will definitely push for no food at all, that just keeps it simple and safe.

We will still need a protocol in place to address what staff are supposed to do when parents inevitably 'forget' the policy and drop-off a tray of cupcakes or halloween treats for the class or even worse, leave candy and chocolate treats in everyone's cubby's or lockers (this happens a lot at Christmas, valentines and Chinese New Year). The teachers need to have clear next steps and the confidence to follow them in those instances.

_________________
Son 7 yrs: Anaphylactic to eggs, milk, fish, peanuts, tree nuts and allergic to soy, animals & environmental + Asthma.
Daughter 9 yrs: No allergies!
Me: Allergic to animals & environmental.
Hubby: Allergic to deer, horse flies & bees.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2011 8:59 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6456
Location: Ottawa
I'm sharing this quote, according to the Ontario Ministry of Education:
"There is a direct link between success in school and the school environment in which student learning takes place. Students are more motivated to do well and achieve their full potential in schools that have a positive school culture and one in which they feel safe and supported."Safe Schools Action Team, 2008, p. 1
http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/teachers/R ... ulture.pdf

Also, take a look at the school board website and search for policies regarding fundraisers.

My daughter's school board has the follow as part of their policy:
"Participation of Students in fundraising in schools will be voluntary, and consideration will be given to factors such as the age and safety of the students.
i) Door-to-door canvassing by students will not be permitted
ii) Fundraising activities will not interfere unduly with the learning experiences in the curriculum."

If the activity creates an unsafe situation or if your child is not able to participate (voluntary means his choice) or if it interferes with his learning experience (see the first quote), then it should be modified or replaced with a more inclusive fundraiser.

_________________
Moderator
Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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