08 September 2017
I would like to take a moment to remind you that there are students in our school with life-threatening allergies to peanuts and tree nuts. For some students, their allergy sensitivity is so severe that coming into contact with trace amounts of nuts through skin or airborne contact can lead to anaphylactic shock. In the most extreme cases, this can lead to respiratory difficulties and blockage of the airways that requires immediate medical treatment. When we say life threatening, we are not overreacting.
Safety is our top priority in everything we do. For this reason, we need your support and cooperation to ensure that the lives of our kiddos with severe nut allergies are not put in jeopardy by the snacks and lunches you pack. We ask you to please read food labels carefully, checking for peanut/nut ingredients prior to sending food to school. If you have caregivers who provide lunches or snacks for your kids, we encourage you to share this information with them. We realize this request may require added planning and effort on your part when packaging your child’s lunch and snacks, and we can’t thank you enough for your participation in our efforts to keep every child healthy and safe.
Thank you so much for your collaboration in making our school safe for all of our students!
The following ingredients are considered nuts and are not allowed in our school: Almond, artificial nuts, black walnut hull extract (flavoring), beechnut, Brazil nut, butternut, cashew, chestnut, chinquapin nut, filbert/hazelnut, gianduja (a chocolate nut mixture), ginkgo nut, hickory nut, litchi/lichee/lychee nut, macadamia nut, marzipan/almond paste, Nangai nut, natural nut extract (e.g., almond, walnut), nut butters (e.g., cashew butter), nut distillates/alcoholic extracts nut oils (e.g., walnut oil, almond oil), nut meal, nut meat, nut paste (e.g., almond paste), nut pieces, pecan, pesto pili nut, pine nut (also referred to as Indian, pignoli, pigñolia, pignon, piñon, and pinyon nut), pistachio, praline, shea nut, walnut, walnut hull extract (flavoring).
The label says “Processed in a facility that also processes nuts” or “Processed on a machine that also processes nuts.” Can I pack these items?
These warnings are not required by the FDA and are a way for the food companies to protect themselves in the event that these items were unintentionally exposed to dust from peanuts or tree nuts. Our understanding is that the chances of these products containing nuts are extremely low and that companies take specific measures to keep nuts out of these products. You are welcome to pack these snacks as we already prevent students from sharing food and don’t believe these labels pose a significant threat to our students with peanut or tree nut allergies.
The label says “May contain peanuts or tree nuts.” Can I pack these items?
It is our understanding that a warning saying something like “May contain peanuts or tree nuts” is essentially the same warning as “Processed in a facility that also produces nuts.” However, the legal teams of these companies deliberately chose to make a stronger statement about the likelihood that traces of nuts could be in their products. For this reason, we feel there is an increased risk in allowing these products to enter our school. We do NOT allow products that contain a warning like “May contain peanuts or tree nuts.”
What about coconut or coconut oil?
Coconut, the seed of a drupaceous fruit, has typically not been restricted in the diets of people with nut allergies. While it is possible to be allergic to coconut in addition to peanuts or tree nuts, that is a separate allergy and is uncommon. There is no evidence that coconut oil or shea nut oil/butter will cause a person with peanut or tree nut allergies to have any type of reaction.