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Found 5 results

  1. Celiac.com 07/20/2017 - It is common for school teachers in the United States not to know what student has celiac disease, or allergies of any sort. Most schools don't have formal systems so that the principal, school nurse, teacher, or cafeteria workers know when a child has celiac disease or food allergies. An informal game of roulette is played, where everyone assumes that everything is fine – that is, until a child has a heath reaction. In Montreal, Canada, the Lester B Pearson School Board has taken a different approach to dealing with food allergies and conditions such as celiac disease that their students might have. They regard these health conditions to be so important that how to handle them is present in their official Policy on Safe and Caring Schools. To summarize what they do, at the beginning of each school year parents are sent a form requesting them to inform the principal, homeroom teacher, and other relevant school personnel about health conditions and allergies. This includes children who have celiac disease and gluten issues. If a child changes schools, or if a student in an existing school gets a new health diagnosis or has newly identified health needs, this information should be made known to school personnel. A photograph of the student is taken and put on a card with the health condition so that others in charge may know that a particular child has gluten issues. In the cafeteria, workers have the photos of the children posted in the kitchen where they can see them so that they can know that brown-haired Lucinda in fifth-grade has celiac disease and should be served only foods that are safe for her. Children may not know what foods have gluten in them and which do not, so they may not always be the best informants for identifying which foods being served are safe for them and which are not. Given that additives may vary according who is doing the cooking or what ingredients are used, a food like macaroni and cheese may be made with wheat pasta, making it unsafe, or corn, rice or quinoa pasta, rendering it acceptable. Both may look identical to the naked eye, but they aren't so it is a food service worker's obligation to know whether Lucinda can have the dish or not. Likewise, teachers may be given the photograph and health card so that they remember when Billy brings in cupcakes for his birthday celebration, that there are gluten-free ones available (hopefully!) in the cafeteria freezer that can be pulled out and given to Lucinda so she is not left out. The photograph technique is especially helpful when there are new cafeteria workers or substitute teachers or other personnel who may not know a child's food allergy situation like someone who interacts with the child every day might. The Lester B Pearson schools' Food and Nutrition Policy is based in Canada's Food Guide and Policy on Health Eating and Active Living. All schools in Canada are to adhere to the same set of standards. This means that a celiac child living in Vancouver should be just as safe eating at school as one in Ottawa or one in Halifax. Having national standards that are uniformly enforced helps to make all children safe. Making sure that children's food consumption is safe for all of them, especially in public institutions like schools, is part of their human rights according to the Convention on the Rights of the Child. It is the responsibility of adults who are in local parent organizations to be in charge of the oversight and safety of all children and to think through food risk and safety policies.
  2. My son "Z" (dx with celiac in May 2011, at age 12 months) will be starting kindergarten in the fall. I was talking to the school nurse yesterday about another of my children, and I asked her in a "by the way" sort of manner, what should I do to get a plan in place for Z next year? I was alarmed that she seemed totally unfamiliar with celiac disease. She said we could fill out a form when we enroll him to list food allergies, and for anything else I should just talk informally with his classroom teacher (note: we won't even know who his teacher is until a few days before school starts). I smiled and nodded, but on the inside, I thought: Okay, that is not good enough. We don't qualify for free/reduced price lunch, and I would rather not gamble that the cafeteria workers will manage to avoid cross-contamination at every single meal, so we've already decided that he will be brown-bagging it. But I do want him to be able to get milk at breakfast (free for all students in our district) and lunch (I think it costs 50 cents or something for milk). I also want him to be protected from gluten exposure in the classroom and art room (he LOVES art). I found a "Model 504 plan" for celiac disease from americanceliac.org. One item on there states: The school staff will keep the student’s celiac disease confidential, except to the extent that the student decides to openly communicate about it with others. I hadn't even thought about that! What do other parents think? Is it a good thing for other kids to know that Z can't have certain things, or does it create potential for bullying and ostracism? Other than that, I have a pretty good idea what should be in a 504 for Z. My main question is, How do I get started with the 504 process? Who should I call? Any other parents who have been through this before? Robyn
  3. Celiac.com 03/23/2012 - Most parents of gluten-free children can attest to the challenges of making certain that the food the kids are eating is, in fact, gluten-free. Many of those parents can also be comforted by the fact that more public schools are recognizing the need for gluten-free lunches for certain children, and are making an effort to provide nutritious gluten-free alternatives for those children. Well, in a development that may interest all parents of gluten-free children, the BBC is reporting that schools in Northamptonshire, UK, have been to ordered to discontinue two particular "gluten-free" meals after the meals were found to contain unacceptable levels of gluten. Gluten from wheat, rye or barley triggers an immune reaction in certain people, requiring them to avoid eating food containing even trace amounts of those grains. Nutritionists overseeing the gluten-free meals discovered gluten in a supplier's shepherd's pie and beef Bolognese. These meals are served to gluten-free children at schools across the county. The BBC report says the county council has about 20 pupils registered with gluten-intolerance or celiac disease, but that no children had shown an adverse reaction. Unacceptably high levels of gluten were detected in a gravy powder used to make the two meals, according to the local authority contacted by the BBC. The report cites Councilor Andrew Grant as saying that nutritionists regularly monitor the ingredients used by companies that supply food to the schools, and that one such check found that food labeled as gluten-free in fact continued gluten. In many gluten-sensitive individuals, even a small amount of gluten can trigger an adverse reaction. So, even if the even if the contamination is slight, Grants notes, it is nevertheless completely unacceptable for a child with allergies to be exposed to this risk. According to the article, county officials wants to make certain that the problem is confined to these two particular products, so it has asked for a full investigation into the cause of the problem. Are problems such as this to be expected as we transition gluten-free food into new areas, such as public schools? Are even these problems a sign that celiac disease and gluten-sensitivity awareness is increasing? Are such issues a sign that more and better gluten-free food options lie just around the corner? Let us know your thoughts.
  4. Celiac.com 01/25/2012 - Perhaps due to a combination of public information efforts and higher diagnosis rates, but awareness of celiac disease, gluten-free and other food sensitivities is slowly spreading to schools across the nation. This reality, coupled with general student interest in a greater variety of healthier food options is driving a change in both vocabulary and offerings at campuses around the country. Go to many schools today, and you may hear terms like 'gluten-free,' 'celiac-friendly,' or 'allergen-free' thrown around liberally with more common standbys like 'kosher,' 'organic,' 'vegetarian,' and 'vegan.' Students are "becoming more sophisticated customers," says Joe Wojtowicz, general manager of Sodexo, Inc.'s Crossroads dining room at Concordia University Chicago in River Forest. These days, it's common for staff to field questions about food options before students even arrive on campus, especially questions about celiac disease, gluten-intolerance, food allergies and vegetarian preferences. For these students, access to accurate nutritional information is all the more important given their need to avoid foods that trigger allergies, Wojtowicz says. "All our menus are on the Web, and they click through an item to learn the nutritional content," he adds. "And we make sure we label our offerings if they contain nuts." These benefits extend to students with celiac disease and gluten intolerance, as well. Overall, more students are requesting foods that are more nutritious and healthful than in the past, says Travis Orman, senior director of dining services with Chartwells Educational Dining Services at Elmhurst College in Elmhurst, which serves up to 3,200 meals a day. Students are also demanding more options. That means a change in even the most basic offerings. For example, many colleges are finding that students enjoy ethnic specialities. Orman says authentic Mexican is a favorite on his campus. "We honed in on the authentic cuisine and developed 8 to 10 options where the flavors just burst in your mouth. We launched Serranos Mexican Grill in September, and it's been very well received." Offerings include a burrito bowl taco, taco salad and barbacoa, a beef slow braised in garlic, lime, chiles and spices, then shredded, Orman says. Many college students prefer meat-free options, says Wojtowicz, so Crossroads always offers at least two to four vegetarian menu options, including cheese pizzas, grilled cheese sandwiches and cheese quesadillas. Other items, such as grilled Provencal vegetable sandwich or black bean and cheese quesadilla also appear. At CUC, Wojtowicz has responded to a growing interest in Mediterranean dishes with items like paella, spanakopita, Spanish tapas and other regional favorites. Some schools are taking food offerings to the next level by serving vegetables grown in local community gardens. North Central College in Naperville is among schools that has turned to harvesting a community garden to supply a portion of the produce for its dining operation. The North Central College Community Garden is now in its second year, and benefits from the efforts of nearby residents, who tend their own plots of land. Because of that support, those gardens "produce some of the fresh vegetables and fruits used in the college's salad bar and deli bar," says director of residence life Kevin McCarthy. The school then labels those items at the dining hall so that students know they are choosing sustainable options grown at the Community Garden. Source: http://www.chicagotribune.com/special/educationtoday/chi-edtoday-dining-110311,0,7648384.story
  5. Celiac.com 06/12/2006 - Starting with the May 2006 school lunch menu, the Mendon Upton Regional School District will be serving gluten free meals. Mr. Paul Daigle, Superintendent of Schools commented: “Food allergies have become an increasingly important area of concern in our public schools. The district is committed to provide all students with a safe and healthy school lunch experience.” Anne Crisafulli, the district’s Food Service Coordinator, put her can-do attitude to work to identify and provide for gluten free meals to be available for the children in the district who have celiac disease and/or are gluten sensitive. Some of the gluten free offerings that will be available in May include, bagel lunches, pizza, taco bar, brunch, pasta, grilled cheese, peanut butter & jelly sandwich, turkey wraps and hot dogs. Most of these items traditionally contain gluten, which is a protein found in oats, wheat, barley and rye. After much research, Ms. Crisafulli made specific product purchases to be used in the gluten free meal preparation and hopes to expand it’s gluten free options in the future. Gluten Intolerance and Sensitivity is becoming more prevalent among our nation’s children and our small community is no exception. Gluten intolerance or sensitivity results in adverse reactions after consuming the protein gluten. Consumption of gluten, for those who are intolerant or sensitive to the protein, results in intestinal damage that can lead to a multitude of complications due to malabsorption of nutrients. Both disorders involve varying symptoms that can include headaches, joint & muscle pain, mood swings, skin conditions, abdominal pain, constipation and diarrhea. Treatment involves a strict lifelong adherence to a gluten free diet. The support offered by the Mendon Upton Regional School District to children is a paramount success to those with gluten intolerance. It is estimated that 1 in every 133 people in our country has celiac disease, and many are yet to be properly diagnosed. This new initiative will allow children with dietary restrictions the opportunity to identify menu items that are safe for their very strict diets. This will help them to prepare for the real life choices they will need to make now, as they grow and as they become adults and go out into the world. A new parent group will be formed to identify and address gluten and other common food issues that are of concern in the Mendon Upton public school system. The kickoff meeting is scheduled for May 18, 2006 at 7:00 in the Miscoe Hill School Auditorium. For more information please contact one of the chairpersons: Diane Mercier (508) 529-4433, Shirley Warren (508) 529-3552 or Daniele West (508) 634-3936.
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