According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), food allergies are a growing food safety and public health concern for children. Allergic reactions can be life threatening. Therefore, the CDC states that “schools should develop plans for preventing an allergic reaction and responding to a food allergy emergency.”
Eight foods or food groups account for 90% of serious allergic reactions in the United States. They are milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, wheat, soy, peanuts and tree nuts.3
With fish and shellfish on this list and with Lenten season coming up, it’s a great time to brush up on your food allergy plan.
In consultation with the U.S. Department of Education and a number of other federal agencies, CDC developed the Voluntary Guidelines for Managing Food Allergies in Schools and Early Care and Education Centers.
The five priority areas that these guidelines suggest
schools address are:
- Ensure the daily management of food allergies in individual children.
- Prepare for food allergy emergencies.
- Provide professional development on food allergies for staff members.
- Educate children and family members about food allergies.
- Create and maintain a healthy and safe educational environment.
Suggestions for managing food allergies
and preparing for emergencies:
- Keep current paperwork from parents and doctors.
- Review products regularly.
- Utilize the Martin Bros. food requirement online search option to help you find appropriate school menu items.
- Partner with your school nurse to train staff on the food allergy symptoms to be aware of.
3. Boyce JA, Assa'ad A, Burks AW, et al; NIAID-Sponsored Expert Panel. Guidelines for the diagnosis and management of food allergy in the United States: report of the NIAID-sponsored expert panel. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2010;126(suppl 6):S1-S58.