Food allergies in children convinced the CDC to fight for a child’s right to eat healthy in school. A by-product of these guidelines is the CDC’s policy addressing common and not-so common food allergies that might endanger our school children.
The CDC’s regulations will not be enforced, but school administrators will need to consider the impact on their own schools if these measures are ignored. CDC estimates that there are 4% to 6% food allergies in children attending school and that 88% of schools have at least one student with a food allergy. The percentages may seem low as to allergic reactions to food, however, the safety of our children and what they are being fed is a hot new trend.
“The CDC recommendations are now the gold standard,” says John Lehr, CEO of Food Allergy Research & Education. This group worked with federal health officials to create new policies in order to decrease food allergies in children during the school day.
MomTrends website addressed the necessity of understanding food allergies in school. Stanley Rak published a book of nutrition guidelines, Baby Nutrition, Allergen and Score Guide 2013. It is one of the website’s most popular publications.
MomTrends said, “Our favorite section is “Allergies 101,”… the section about the most common allergies, dubbed “Class One Allergens,” explains symptoms and explanations behind the eight most popular allergens (i.e., peanuts, eggs, soy, fish, shellfish, tree nuts, dairy and wheat).” The section is informative to parents who may wonder if their own child may be battling food allergies in school.
A parent’s role in the health of their child, is to let the schools know about those who have been diagnosed with food allergies. Parents and schools can then work together on management plans. In order for the schools to cooperate with CDC on the new regulations, they must know what each child needs to reduce food allergies.
The progression of school cafeterias from the 1950’s to the present to serve healthy food to its students has been a stop and start process along a rough road. Food allergies in children were not considered a problem. In the late ’50’s and ’60’s, mystery meat was commonly known to students as the leftovers formed into somewhat edible bites.
In the ’70’s and’80’s, schools were insisting that ketchup was a vegetable and the pizza dough was made out of processed flour; then baked to a cardboard-like consistency.
It was only in the ’90’s and the millenium that schools have taken a stronger stance on what they are feeding our children. Some schools, public and private, are actually hiring chefs to direct their school lunch menus and programs. Schools are hoping this precaution will keep food allergies in children to a minimum.
Parents can breathe a sigh of relief, since they know that the CDC is fighting for their children’s right to be able to eat healthy food in schools with the minimum of allergic reactions. The main goal is to prevent any food allergies in school from becoming a danger to our children. Now, kids, who’s ready to congratulate their favorite lunch lady?
By Lisa M Pickering