Peanut Allergies in Schools

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					             Peanut Allergies in Schools
      chool boards now have                                                 and walnuts. Tree nuts and peanuts

S     policies and procedures
      to meet the needs of
children with allergies. When
                                                                            are often processed in the same
                                                                            facilities, so there is a risk that tree
                                                                            nuts may have some peanut
a student has a peanut or nut                                               protein residue on them and vice-
allergy, the school asks all                                                versa. This is why both peanuts
parents not to send peanuts                                                 and tree nuts must be avoided.
or nuts from home. It is very
important that the whole
school community, including                                                   Did you know?
teachers, parents and other
children, understands the                                                     Peanuts are actually part
risks and help allergic children                                              of the legume family, like
avoid a life-threatening                                                      beans and lentils.

What is a peanut allergy?                                Can’t the allergic child just
A peanut allergy occurs when the immune system
overreacts to peanut exposure. Peanuts are one of
                                                         avoid peanuts?
the most common food allergens, especially in            People with peanut allergies have to be very
children. If a child has a severe allergy, even the      careful about what they eat. It only takes a tiny
smallest trace of a peanut can cause a reaction          trace of peanut residue to cause some people to
called anaphylaxis (an-a-fi-lak-sis). This can lead to   react. Sometimes the peanut ingredient transfers
death if the child is not treated. Although some         to another food that does not normally have that
children may outgrow their peanut allergy, it            ingredient in it. For example, a knife with peanut
usually lasts a lifetime.                                butter residue on it could be used for another
                                                         spread or foods with nuts can get mixed in with
What about nut allergy?                                  other foods in bulk food bins.

A tree nut allergy can also be severe and often          It is very important that everyone that comes in
lifelong. Tree nuts of concern are                       contact with an allergic child is aware of his/her
almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews,                           allergy so that they can help the child avoid
hazelnuts, macadamia nuts,                               exposure to the allergen.
pecans, pine nuts, pistachio nuts
                                                          list of ingredients. For example, bulk foods and
Tips on how to avoid                                      foods from on-site bakeries do not usually have
peanuts and nuts in food                                  ingredient lists.
                                                         • Have paper and a pen with you when you
sent to school                                                          shop. If you have a question about a
                                                                          product, write down the product
When grocery shopping:                                                     name and the company’s phone
• Read the labels on pre-packaged foods                                    number or address. Ask the food
  very carefully every time you                                             company whether the product
  shop. Companies may                                                       contains peanut protein.
  change their recipes or
  use different                                                              When preparing food:
  ingredients at any                                                        • Children and adults should wash
  time.                                                                     their hands before and after
• Watch out for other                                                       handling food and before and
  names for peanuts:                                                         after eating food.

       - Arachide                                                            • Clean and sanitize work and
                                                                             cooking surfaces, utensils and any
       - Arachis oil                                                         equipment that touches food.
       - Beer nuts
                                                                            Tips to teach children:
       - Cacahouète/
         cacahouette/                                                       • Discourage children from
         cacahuète                                                          sharing food at school.
       - Goober nuts,                                                    • Encourage children to respect other
         goober peas                                               children’s allergies and not tease them.
       - Ground nuts
       - Kernels
                                                         Peanut-Free Lunch Ideas
       - Mandelonas, Nu-Nuts™                            A nutritious lunch should contain items from three to
                                                         four food groups in Canada’s Food Guide:
       - Nut meats, Valencias                            Vegetables and Fruit (preferably some of each), Grain
For a list of other possible sources of peanuts and      Products, Milk and Alternatives and/or Meat and
nuts, please see Health Canada’s web site:               Alternatives. Remember to always read the labels on                    pre-packaged foods or ingredients you use in cooking.
                                                         Vegetables and Fruit
• You might see the line “may contain traces of
                                                         Fresh fruit
  peanuts or nuts…” at the end of the ingredient list.
  This means that the company is not 100 percent         Raw vegetable pieces
  sure that the product is free of peanut ingredients.   Leftover cooked vegetables
  There is some risk if it is eaten by someone with a
                                                         Canned fruit in juice
  peanut allergy.
• Avoid imported foods with ingredient lists in a        Fruit juices
  different language. For example, imported              Vegetable or tomato juice
  chocolate bars may not list peanuts, even when         Vegetable-based soups
  they are present.
                                                         Fruit salads
• Avoid any products that do not carry a complete
Grain Products                                          Hummus
Whole grain bread or bagel                              Beans or lentils
Whole grain pita, flat bread or                         Tofu
tortilla                                                Hard-boiled egg
Pasta or noodles
                                                        Peanut-Free Snacks
                                                        Remember to always check the labels of any pre-
                                                        packaged foods and any ingredients that you use in
Whole grain crackers                                    cooking.
Whole grain Melba toast
Whole grain cereal                                      Fresh fruit

Small muffin                                            Raw vegetables with yogurt dip

Milk and Alternatives                                   Apple sauce
2%, 1% or skim milk (white or chocolate)                Canned fruit salad (in juice)
Yogurt                                                  Whole grain crackers and cheese
                                                        Yogurt (plain or fruit)
                                                        Milk (white or chocolate)
Cottage cheese
Fruit smoothie                                          Fortified soy beverage

Milk pudding                                            Whole grain cereal
Fortified soy beverage                                  Homemade muffin

Meat and Alternatives                                   Whole grain breadsticks with hum-
Canned fish (light tuna, salmon)                        mus or bean dip

Chicken, turkey or roast beef                           Mini pita stuffed with tuna salad

                          Sample Peanut-Free Lunch Menus
 Day 1                              Day 2                                  Day 3

 Whole grain bagel                  Whole grain flatbread                  Whole grain crackers

 Sliced turkey                      Hummus                                 Vegetable soup

 Milk pudding cup                   Sliced vegetables                      Apple

 Baby carrots                       Yogurt                                 Chocolate milk

 100% orange juice                  Water
Sources of Additional Information
The information in this factsheet does not replace any advice given by a doctor and does not provide all of the
necessary information to manage food allergies.

Toronto Public Health                                           The Allergy/Asthma and Immunology
416-338-7600                                                    Society of Ontario
Web site:                                 2 Demaris Avenue

Nutrition Matters: Food Allergies… What’s the                   Toronto, ON M3N 1M1
Scoop?                                                          Tel: 416-633-2215
Nutrition Matters: Food Allergies and Your Child                Web site:

Health Canada Public Inquiries                                  Information for Schools and
                                                                School Boards
Web site:                 • Anaphylaxis: a Handbook for School Boards
fa-aa/index_e.html                                              Health Canada and Canadian School Board
The Allergy/Asthma Information                                  anaphylaxis_eng.pdf
Association (AAIA)
111 Zenway Boulevard, Unit 1
                                                                Ontario Ministry of Education and TV Ontario
Vaughan, ON L4H 3H9
                                                                This e-learning module assists Ontario schools to
Tel: 905-265-3322                                               comply with Sabrina's Law. It provides
Toll-free: 1-800-611-7011                                       information on developing strategies to help
                                                                reduce the risk of exposure to triggers of
Web site:
                                                                anaphylaxis and how to respond in the event of
                                                                an emergency.
Anaphylaxis Canada
2005 Sheppard Avenue East, Suite 800
Toronto, ON M2J 5B4
Tel: 416-785-5666
Web site:

For more information please call Toronto Health Connection at 416-338-7600 to speak with a Dietitian.
For additional issues of Nutrition Matters, refer to publications on our Web site at

September 2007

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Description: The information in this factsheet does not replace any advice given by a doctor and does not provide all of the necessary information to manage food allergies.