Food Allergies


Accommodations:

There are several accommodations that parents of food allergic children work with St. Mary's to provide. Here are some that are done now. If there are other accommodations that you would like to provide for your child, feel free to contact your child's teacher and Mrs. Schram.

  • Drop off your EpiPens. Make sure that you give your child's EpiPens to the office (labeled with your child's name). Parents provide up to three EpiPens for their children, one that is kept in the office health room, one that is kept in the child's classroom, and one that is kept in the cafeteria.
  • Speak to your child's teacher about special accommodations. This step can be largely flexible, depending on your concerns for your child. Some parents provide prepackaged treats for the teacher to give their child in lieu of birthday treats. Some parents ask that no food outside of what's provided by them be given to their child. Some parents ask to be contacted if there is an occasion in which food will be provided to the children.
  • Talk to the room moms. Room moms are in charge of planning classroom parties. Parents of food allergic parents should communicate with them to make sure that party treats are safe.
  • Put your child's information on the cafeteria bulletin board. A bulletin board is available in the cafeteria to put a picture of your child and his or her allergies so that cooks and cafeteria supervisors are aware of the children who have allergies.
  • Speak with the cooks. If your child will be taking hot lunch, you should feel free to speak with the cooks about what ingredients are in each meal.
  • Make allergy cards for your child. Your child's classroom teacher knows about your child's allergies, but what about the rest of the teachers your child sees during the day (gym, library, technology, music, Spanish, etc.)? You can put a picture of your child on an index card along with the following information: your child's name, classroom number and teacher, food allergies, and the location of your child's EpiPens. Make a set of these, and Mrs. Schram will hand them out to the teachers.

If an Allergic Reaction Occurs:

911 will always be called if an EpiPen is administered.

  1. Student will be accompanied to the office, if able.
  2. The school secretary, teacher or principal will care for the student.
  3. 911 will be called prior to or simultaneously, with call to parent.
  4. The student should be medically evaluated and monitored following EpiPen administration.  Transportation will be via ambulance, unless deemed safe by EMT/Paramedic for parent to transport child for medical evaluation.
  5. School staff will document time and site of medication administration.

The useful effects of an EpiPen last approximately 15 minutes.  EpiPen is designed to be used as emergency supportive therapy until the student can be evaluated at a medical facility.

In addition, the teacher will be responsible for taking the EpiPen along on field trips.  Parents/guardians will make after school directors/coaches, etc. aware of allergies and potential allergic reactions.

Cross-contamination:

Cross-contamination is a concern that needs to be kept in mind when providing food for those with food allergies. Cross-contamination means that a food does not actually have the allergen in question as an ingredient, but has come into contact with the allergen, and is therefore not safe to eat.

How to avoid cross-contamination when preparing non-allergenic foods

  • Make sure the preparation area, as well as any dishes or utensils being used, are all freshly cleaned.
  • If you are making a special batch of something to be allergen-free, make that batch first before you make the batch with the allergens. Make sure the allergen-free batch is stored safely away before starting the batch with the allergens.
  • Do not place allergen-free foods in the same container as those with allergens (for example, peanut butter cookies on the same plate as chocolate chip cookies for someone with a peanut allergy).

Cross-contamination on Labels

When you buy food for people with allergies, it is important to check the labels. As far as cross-contamination goes, you need to check not only for ingredients, but where it says "May contain" or "Made in a facility that also processes". For example, even plain M&Ms are not safe for those with peanut allergies due to possible cross-contamination. All M&M labels say "May contain peanuts." Also, foods that would not logically seem to be a problem, such as fruit snacks, sauces, candy, pretzels, bread, etc., often are labeled that they are made in a facility or on machinery that also processes one or many allergens.

It is important to remember that, for many people, just a small trace of an allergen can cause a serious reaction. Therefore, cross-contamination needs to be taken just as seriously as the allergen as an actual ingredient.

Reading Ingredient Labels:

When eating or cooking with anything for a food allergic child, it is important to read ingredient labels. The US government has made it easier to ascertain which foods contain allergens by requiring that the "big 8" allergens (peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, fish, shellfish, wheat, dairy, and soy) are listed clearly in ingredient labels.

Read labels carefully when looking for allergens. Sometimes the allergen is simply listed; sometimes it is written in bold; sometimes the allergens are listed at the end of the ingredient list after wording, such as "Contains the following allergens".
 
It is important to read the label not only for actual ingredients, but also for possible cross-contamination. If the food has been prepared or processed in the same facility as one that also produces allergens, the label will include wording such as, "processed in a facility that also processes peanuts".

 

Known Classroom Allergies for the 2019-20 School Year:

  • 3k - tree nuts, fish, seafood
  • 4k - eggs
  • 5k - eggs, shrimp (shellfish), peanuts, tree nuts
  • 1st - none
  • 2nd - peanuts, fish
  • 3rd - none
  • 4th - peanuts, tree nuts, gluten
  • 5th - peanuts, tree nuts, gluten
  • 6th - dairy
  • 7th - gluten, milk, peanuts
  • 8th - eggs, seafood, tree nuts, walnuts, cashews, pecans, almonds, peanuts,  milk, melon, rice krispie treats (not homemade kind)

Common Food Allergies 
Dairy 
Egg 
Fish and Shellfish 
Peanut 
Soy 
Tree Nut 
Wheat


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