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Schools Have To Provide gluten-free Lunch?

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 07:30 AM

It is a law that the school has to provide a suitable substitution. When we were in California they didn't do cooking in the school itself, they just heated prepackaged things up. What we did was set up a seperate microwave that only Brandon could use (it was covered by the box when not being used by him). We purchased individual items such as Ian's chicken nuggets, Amy's mac and cheese, amy's enchiladas and thai kitchen noodle carts, lundburg rice pouches and all those kinds of foods. I purchased 3 months at a time using a purchase order from the district. When it was pizza day, the manager made his gluten free pizza first thing in the morning and then wrapped it once it was cooled off and put it in a holding oven. It would still be warm (room temperature).

We had our own area in the freezer for his gluten free frozen meals and we had a pantry cabinet for all his dry goods.

There is a pdf file on the usda's website called "Accomodating Kids with Special Dietary Needs in the School Nutrition Program". It outlines the school's responsibilities.

Now we are in North Carolina and we are trying to work with the cafeteria because they cook everything here. Brandon wants to eat at the cafeteria like everyone else... so we are working on it. Not sure how it will work.

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    We've heard nothing at all about the growing tomato menace..

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 10:30 AM


According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), celiac disease is defined as a disability. The United
States Department of Agriculture Food and Agriculture (USDA) has adopted this definition as well, meaning
that all children with celiac disease are included under the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service Guidance on
Children with Special Dietary Needs.
The USDA Child Nutrition Division oversees school lunch programs and requires public school systems to
provide substitutions for all students with food allergies and intolerances that qualify as a disability.


Public schools that receive federal funding are required by law to provide safe meals for children for food allergies and intolerance that are medically documented. This will generally not apply to private schools (unless they also receive federal funding). It requires documentation from a medical professional.

Last year we implemented a school lunch plan for my celiac son. He is the first celiac in the district to receive a gluten-free lunch. I have documented our journey and posted his menus over here. I can't express how much this has meant to my son. He feels almost normal when he gets to buy his lunch just like everyone else. I am confident in the measures the dietician takes to prevent CC.

Hope this helps.
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Dx 8/05 via bloodwork and biopsy (total villous atrophy)
13-year old son Dx 11/05 via bloodwork and biopsy
Daughters (16 and 5) have tested negative via bloodwork

A woman is like a tea bag - you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water. - Eleanor Roosevelt



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Posted 17 August 2008 - 01:12 PM

I was told yesterday that schools have to by law provide gluten free lunches to children diagnosed with celiac.
Is this true?
Do any of you have this done?
How much of a fight was it?

Yes actually the do have to provide a gluten free lunch that does not mean that you won;t have to pay for it. (I looked in to this with help from a friend who is an advocate for children with autism)

Anyhow I'm using this information more as a "Hey I could be requesting that you guys do this but instead I'm only requesting that you make accommodations X Y and Z for my daughter" you know a little incentive to show the school that I am a reasonable person! :)

I wouldn't trust myself with that many kids to worry about so I don't plan on putting that burden on the cafeteria people at the school.... it just seems like a lot to handle!
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Posted 17 August 2008 - 02:49 PM

I just went through a meeting with our school nurse and daughter's teacher. My daughter has a "disability" according to the states definition, because she's anaphylactic to peanuts. She's also allergic to milk, and several other things. The school will accommodate her so far as to "allow" her to purchase juice instead of milk. It certainly isn't free. It's simply a substitution. We had forms that had to be filled out by her pediatrician, stating her nature of disability and severity of the allergies.

I would never trust them to be able to prepare a lunch, in the cafeteria, for my multiple food allergic child. I prepare her lunch for her daily. I have a hard enough time simply allowing her to be IN the cafeteria.
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Jayhawkmom -
Mom of three....
Jay - 11
Bean - 8
Ian - 3



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Posted 17 August 2008 - 03:26 PM

In private schools they do not have to but in public schools where the food and nutrition program is government funded they do. This is also under the disibilities act in my state(maine) I don't know about anyone else. I had done the whole mom making lunch for 7 years(preschool and k-5) and begged my mom when I moved from the private school to public in 6th grade to let the lunch ladies make me lunch and she said we'd give it a try but she really didn't want to and I learned it the hard way. At first it was really good, they did things for me how they said they would and then once they realized it was easier to give me grilled cheese every day they would and they did, my friends had a contest of who could stick there finger through it first because it was so hard and certainly not eatable=/, then they served gluten filled tomato soup with it and I knew better than to eat it at 12 yrs old, so I didn't but I went home and told mom who then said "you ARE bringing lunch from home" and called the assistant principal to let her know that we would like for them to stop making me lunch, and she was okay with it but once she talked to them she asked us to give them a chance for two weeks and it was great for the two weeks the principal checked my lunch and after that it was horrible again and I got cc-ed, so it was a long journey that really was not fun seen that the first time I got grilled cheese I was ready to bring lunch because I didn't like it and I still had to get school lunch. So I'm not sure if I would make a little one have school lunch because they are less knowledgeable about celiac and have a bigger chance of getting cc-ed. Mom didn't want me to do it anyway but I decided to and she let me learn the hard way. =] I am glad she let me because I needed to know by experience that it's not for the better to eat from the school. =/ srry if I was babbly
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Posted 18 August 2008 - 12:16 PM

I'm so glad I checked this forum today! I have three kids who tested positive for the antibodies and the genetic component. Only one was symptomatic, but he was so symptomatic that at 3-1/2 he weighed only 23-1/2 pounds while his identical twin brother was nearly 30 pounds. They've been gluten-free for almost 2 years now, although I guess we're still learning what exactly that means and making mistakes along the way. But I'm happy to report that both boys are now within 1/2 pound of each other and the smaller one is no longer the smaller one!

They start kindergarten tomorrow here in California, so this information is great. I tried talking to the principal a couple of years ago about my daughter, but she sent me to the district who were even less helpful. Now I'm armed with the information I need, maybe I can finally get this addressed. I loathe the idea of making three meals every morning for the next 12 years...
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