Monday, February 7, 2011

Should High Schools be peanut free?

I was having this discussion wit a cousin of mine the other day, and after a quick explanation he agreed with my point of view.  You see, I sell many health foods, but most have some form of nut int hem since nuts provide a great source of essential fats and many also offer protein and fiber.
My 4 year old son is in a private daycare, and that daycare is 100% peanut and sesame safe.  Due to that and the fact that all food served must be Kosher, no food can come into the school from an outside source.  I think that is a great policy for the safety of the kids, and to help ensure Kashrut as well.
I think that every elementary school in the world should be peanut safe, just because the younger kids don't fully understand allergies and what can happen.  I highly doubt too many grade 1 or 2 students can explain what an allergic reaction is and what the worst outcome may be.
That brings us to high school... do they need to be peanut safe?  My quick answer is no.
Most high school cafeterias are required to be peanut safe, yet they offer soda, chocolate bars and chips, therefore helping more kids fall into the trap of obesity.  Not only that, but high school students are more aware of death, and the consequences of allergies.   It is also a time for them to slowly become mature when it comes to their lives, and being proactive about their personal allergy is taking a good step.
Kids are allergic to bees, yet you cannot make a high school bee safe.  Some kids are allergic to almonds, or peaches... what about certain flowers.
I feel bad for kids who have a severe peanut allergy, I understand that it is potentially fatal, and every caution must be taken.  When a child is 15 they need to be aware of their allergies, let them ask their friends not to eat peanut butter around them.  Make sure your girlfriend doesn't eat peanuts before you skip class to go make out in the broom closet etc....
I know many cafeterias that would love to offer high quality organic bars, energy bars and protein bars, but cannot, simply because they are made in a facility that MAY have traces of peanuts.  So instead, they offer the regular array of crap... let the kids have Mountain Dew and Doritos for lunch or recess, that's the solution!
You cannot tell restaurants that they MUST be peanut safe... NO... if you have an allergy to a certain food, you have to be aware of it.  I get severe migraines from MSG, so Chinese food and most buffets are out of the question.
There are people that suffer a severe allergy to gluten, yet schools aren't told they must be gluten free and celiac safe.  If you are gluten intolerant or allergic to gluten, the duty is on you to eat what you can.
I am not trying to be insensitive, and I understand that many people will come out and say that right out of the gate, but my point is valid.  Furthermore, I think that all daycares and elementary schools should be peanut, sesame and almond safe.  I also think that more elementary schools should try to be gluten free, as that also helps children's concentration levels.
High Schools should not be peanut safe.  The big wide world is not peanut safe.  Restaurants are not peanut safe.  Most large companies are not peanut safe, neither are most law firms, accounting firms or retail locations.  Even if a high school is peanut safe, a teenager with a peanut allergy could go to the local mall on the weekend, speak to a sales person who had a peanut butter sandwich for lunch and KABOOM!!!
Let High School students have peanuts!!!


  1. I would rather see in-depth, peer-reviewed, well-funded research addressing the root causes of these unprecedented spikes in allergies over any other option.

  2. I have to believe that part of it is due to th epesticides, hericides and other crap used to farm these items nowadays. I even know a lady that can eat organic almonds, but has a reaction to "normal" almonds.