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
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:
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
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
www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/securit/allerg/ pre-packaged foods or ingredients you use in cooking.
Vegetables and Fruit
• You might see the line “may contain traces of
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
• 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.
• 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
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)
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: www.toronto.ca/health 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: www.allergyasthma.on.ca
Health Canada Public Inquiries Information for Schools and
Web site: www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fn-an/securit/allerg/ • Anaphylaxis: a Handbook for School Boards
fa-aa/index_e.html Health Canada and Canadian School Board
The Allergy/Asthma Information anaphylaxis_eng.pdf
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: www.aaia.ca
anaphylaxis and how to respond in the event of
2005 Sheppard Avenue East, Suite 800
Toronto, ON M2J 5B4
Web site: www.anaphylaxis.ca
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 www.toronto.ca/health.