Food Allergies Information
Assisting Students with Food Allergies
Washington State legislation requires that all public schools address those students with severe food allergies who need measures to be taken to ensure greater safety while they are at school.
- Food allergy occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks a food protein. Ingestion of the offending food may trigger the sudden release of chemicals, including histamine, resulting in symptoms of an allergic reaction.
- The symptoms may be mild (e.g., rashes, hives, itching, swelling) or severe (e.g., trouble breathing, wheezing, loss of consciousness). A food allergy can be potentially fatal.
- Strict avoidance of the allergy-causing food is the only way to avoid a reaction. There is no cure for food allergies.
- Medications are administered to control symptoms after a reaction occurs.
Our procedures significantly reduce the distribution of food from staff to students and the sharing of food between students. The following summarizes our district’s Food Allergy procedures:
- During the first month of each school year, principals and nurses will train staff about allergen threats and related issues.
- The principal will inform parents/guardians if there is a student with life-threatening allergies in their child’s school and the measures taken to protect the affected student(s).
- There will be no routine distribution of food in the classroom. On rare occasions, food may be used to enhance and enrich educational experiences for students. Approval for the occasional use of food must be obtained prior to the activity.
Distribution of food must also meet all of the following standards:
- Be in accordance with Individual Health Care/504/IEP/behavioral/or other health-related plans.
- Packaged commercially with listed ingredients; and
- Follow the district’s Nutrition and Fitness Policy (6700)
- Foods prepared for classroom consumption must meet safe-handling requirements defined by the Whatcom County Health Department. A Food Handler’s permit provided by the Health Department is required for staff members who prepare food for classroom consumption.
These procedures are intended to more effectively protect our students with serious food allergies. Thank you for you cooperation and support in this endeavor. Please call 360-383-9200 or your school nurse if you have concerns or thoughts on this change.