Why has my child been asked to avoid nut products for lunches and snacks ?
There are children in the school that have a nut allergy. Nut allergies often are severe and may be fatal. Even tiny amounts of nut particles or residue can cause someone with a nut allergy to have a strong reaction. Without quick recognition and proper treatment, this person could die within minutes. Nut-safe environments can only be achieved when everyone is committed to helping to maintain them. That is why your cooperation is very important.
Why am I being asked to avoid sending both nuts and peanuts ?
Peanuts are not the same as other nuts because they are actually a legume. Other nuts such as cashews, walnuts, almonds, etc., are tree nuts. Many people, however, who are allergic to one kind of nut also become allergic to others. Also, peanuts and tree nuts are often produced and packaged in the same plant or even on the same production line. Therefore, there is a risk that tree nuts may carry some peanut residue on them and vice versa. For some people, even this small amount may cause a reaction.
What can I do to help ?
You can contribute to creating a nut-safe environment.by:
- avoiding sending any foods to school that contain or may contain nuts
- teaching your children to wash their hands, with soap and water, before and after eating
- teaching children not to share food from home with other children
How do I know if a product contains nuts ?
Read the list of ingredients each time you buy a product. Ingredients and manufacturing procedures may change at any time. Look for "may contain nuts" and treat this as if it says contains nuts. Avoid products that do not have an ingredient list (such as bulk bin products and store-bought baked goods.) Be careful when considering foreign products. Canadian manufacturers are required to list nut ingredients but foreign manufacturers are not. (If the product is made in Canada, it will say so near the company information)
How do I read a label ?
Check the ingredient list for any specific type of nut (peanut, cashew, pistachio, almond, brazil nut, hazelnut, walnut, macadamia nut, pine nut, or pecan.) Also look for any form of nut oil, nut butter, nut extract, nut meal, nut meats, nut paste, mixed nuts, ground nuts or artificial nuts. Remember to watch for "may contain nuts".
What foods are especially important to check ?
It is especially important to check baked goods (cakes, muffins, brownies, cookies, etc.), candy, chocolate, granola and cereal bars, potato chips, ice cream and popsicles, and any food packed in or made with oil.
Isn't it enough for the allergic child to just avoid consuming nuts ?
Avoiding the consumption of nuts is not enough for anyone that has a nut allergy. Even tiny amounts of nut residue on table tops, computers, library books, and playground equipment can be harmful and potentially fatal. Nut residue will remain on a surface until it has been thoroughly cleaned with soap and water.