Food Allergy Disclaimer
Wilson County School system is allergen aware. The school system cannot under any conditions be allergy free.
INTRODUCTION AND HISTORY
Food allergy is a growing concern in the United States and creates a challenge for our schools. Approximately 8 percent of school-aged children have a significant food allergy and may be at risk for anaphylaxis, a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction. Currently, there are no medications that cure food allergy. Therefore, strict avoidance of the food allergen is the only way to prevent allergic reactions. Deaths have occurred in schools because of delays in recognizing symptoms and not responding promptly or effectively. Plans that focus on food allergy education, awareness, avoidance and immediate treatment of allergic reactions are critical to saving lives.
Food allergen awareness is a universal requirement for school nutrition staff. Foods that cause allergic reactions or food allergens can cause major problems to our students if they are unaware of what the food ingredients are within our foods. We keep our records and recipes updated continuously.
Managing food allergens requires that all employees become “aware” of the procedures and techniques necessary to properly deal with food allergens every day. Cafeteria employees, office staff, supervisors, and our volunteers must be aware that even trace amounts of a food allergen can cause allergic reactions for some students.
All school nutrition program personnel need to be aware of food allergens in our food products. All staff must be aware of allergens and the effect they have on our students. The school nutrition office receives and processes student diet orders from a medical professional and will notify the school cafeteria managers of any allergens or intolerances. It is important that all of our students and parents be given the first impression that we are aware of food allergens and are concerned about them.
Food allergy is an exaggerated response by the immune system to a food that the body mistakenly identifies as being harmful. A food allergy is a reaction to the food protein. Once the immune system decides that a particular food is harmful, it produces specific antibodies to that particular food. The next time the individual eats that food, the immune system releases moderate to massive amounts of chemicals, including histamine, to protect the body. These chemicals trigger a cascade of allergic symptoms that can affect the respiratory system, gastrointestinal tract, skin and cardiovascular system.
In some people symptoms appear in only one body system, while in others symptoms appear in several systems. These symptoms can range from mild to severe and may be life threatening depending on the individual and type of exposure. Food allergy symptoms usually develop within a few minutes to 2 hours after eating the offending food. Rarely, symptoms may be delayed for several hours.
It's easy to confuse a food allergy with a much more common reaction known as food intolerance. While bothersome, food intolerance is a less serious condition that does not involve the immune system.
TOP 9 FOOD ALLERGENS
Many foods may be food allergens but according to the Food and Drug Administration more than 90% of the food allergen incidents in the United States are caused by just nine foods. The remaining 10% of food allergen incidents in the U.S. are caused by hundreds of other foods.
The “top nine” food allergens are listed below:
- Tree Nuts (e.g. almonds, pecans, walnuts)
- Crustaceans/Shellfish (e.g. crab, lobster, shrimp)
- Milk and Dairy Products
- Fish (e.g. bass, flounder, cod)
Although nine foods are responsible for the most reactions, it is important to remember that ANY food can cause a serious allergic reaction.
Peanut and tree nuts typically cause the most severe allergic reactions. Allergies to peanut, tree nuts, fish and shellfish are often considered to be life-long.
Ingestion of the food allergen is the principal route of exposure that leads to allergic reactions. For sensitized individuals, ingestion of even very minute amounts of foods can, in certain instances, result in fatal reactions without rapid intervention. If children with life threatening food allergies touch the allergens and then put their fingers to their eyes, nose or mouth, the exposure becomes ingested and may cause anaphylaxis. The quantity of food necessary to trigger an allergic reaction may depend upon multiple variables. Each individual’s level of sensitivity may fluctuate over time.
- Unfortunately, total avoidance is simply not possible because many of the offending substances are so widespread or hidden in our daily environment.
- Prohibiting food does not work because they create a false sense of security. Today, processed foods contain trace amounts of food items that are not always identified on the food label. That is why we do not use the term peanut or allergen free. The best plan is to educate our school community about the issues that face students with life threatening allergies.
- Special events/Non-routine days. The greatest risk for a life threatening allergic reaction exists when the normal routine is broken. Examples are classroom parties, field trips, a substitute teacher, and after school events.
Remember, you are never alone. It takes a team to ensure the best for our children and students. Help is usually a phone call away.
If you need any further assistance, feel free to contact the Cafeteria manager and nurse at your child’s school, or you can contact-
Dana Worley| School Nutrition Field Supervisor
Wilson County Schools
Administrative and Training Complex
415 Harding Drive
Lebanon, TN 37087
Email: Dana Worley
In accordance with federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation), disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity.
Program information may be made available in languages other than English. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication to obtain program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language), should contact the responsible state or local agency that administers the program or USDA TARGET Center at (202) 720-2600 (voice and TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339.
To file a program discrimination complaint, a Complainant should complete a Form AD-3027, USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form which can be obtained online at: https://www.usda.gov/sites/default/files/documents/USDA-OASCR%20P-Complaint-Form-0508-0002-508-11-28-17Fax2Mail.pdf, from any USDA office, by calling (866) 632-9992, or by writing a letter addressed to USDA. The letter must contain the complainant’s name, address, telephone number, and a written description of the alleged discriminatory action in sufficient detail to inform the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights (ASCR) about the nature and date of an alleged civil rights violation. The completed AD-3027 form or letter must be submitted to USDA by:
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; or
(833) 256-1665 or (202) 690-7442; or