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Terri Mauro

Peanut-Butter Bans Stir Up Strong Opinions

By April 19, 2007

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Well, my goodness, people. Peanut butter sure is a touchy subject. My request to have the problem with school peanut-butter bans explained to me has garnered more than 100 comments. Most are thoughtful, some are heated, a few are sarcastic, but then I am too, sometimes.

To the people with kids who, due to their own special needs, will only eat peanut butter, I say: You have a really good point. The place where one child's special needs bump up against another's is where the hard choices start.

To the people who just don't think things should be restricted, or who strongly believe in the right to bear peanuts ... I'm feeling less sympathy, honestly. We restrict things from schools all the time, with far less reason. These are among the things banned from my kids' schools right now:

  • Belly-baring shirts
  • Backless shoes
  • Shirts with offensive slogans
  • Jewelry in gym class
  • Head lice
  • Weapons
  • Toys that look like weapons
  • Cigarettes, drugs and alcohol
  • Aspirin
  • Forums and chat rooms on school computers
  • Skirts shorter than the extended fingertips
  • Beepers
None of these things are banned in the big wide world, and children may easily be exposed to them in other venues. Yet schools try to keep them out, to promote a healthy and safe and caring environment in which students can focus on learning. Schools being relatively contained, it is easier to target and ban certain items. And schools being places children are required to be, it is reasonable to remove things that might be harmful to them, especially if those things have no particular application to a learning environment.

What does it say to a child to announce, "We care about you, but not if it means we can't eat whatever we darn well please?" Why would you not, in the spirit of drawing a school together as a community, eliminate something that could honestly kill one of your own? Not because you have to, and not because their mommies are big mouths, and not because nobody takes responsibility for anything anymore, but because you can?

Go back and take a look at the comments in that previous post, if you haven't skimmed through recently. I've closed down comments there, but you can feel free to respond here to that post or this one.

However, I would ask all commenters to remember that this is not just an issue of packing a peanut-free lunch for a peanut-allergic child. Children with peanut allergies can have reactions to trace amounts of peanut butter from somebody else's lunch on a table top or a railing or anyplace else. Peanut bans may not be practical or desirable for a variety of reasons, but "just don't feed them peanuts" is not a solution. Comments that make only that point, or that wander off the point into attacks on other commenters or inappropriate language, may be subject to deletion at my discretion.

Comments
April 19, 2007 at 10:29 pm
(1) Michelle says:

My Grandsons whole school is peanut free! And not only students but some teachers are severely allergic to peanuts. I myself have suffered anaphylactic shock and almost died from bee stings, and antibiotics, and it is a terrifying situation to experience.
It IS more expensive to make peanut-free lunches, and takes alot of label reading, but so be it!
We were up late one night making cupcakes for a party at school, and my daughter had bought cheap canned frosting (yuch) to save time, we wound up sending the cupcakes plain, cause the frosting contained peanut oil.
Oh well!
My Grandson can come home and eat peanut butter.

April 20, 2007 at 12:51 am
(2) RDavis says:

If peanut-containing foods are banned, then why not also:
- strawberries and food containing any strawberries
- chocolate and cocoa
- oranges
- gluten containing foods, such as bread, pasta, gravy, cookies, cake
- fish and seafood
- and the list goes on and on.
There are many food allergies, so why would peanut allergy get a special treatment in school??? It is the child’s and his/her parents’ PERSONAL responsibility to assure the allergic child will not eat what he/she is allergic to (ie. ask if the food offered contains peanut etc.) The list by Terri that included banned items such as Short skirts and Jewelry in gym was off the mark and thoughtless to bring up in connection with peanut allergy. What was she thinking of…

April 20, 2007 at 6:23 am
(3) specialchildren says:

I was thinking that we ban a lot of things from schools, for far less cause than this. It shouldn’t be unthinkable to ban something for such a serious reason. It’s not just a matter of not eating them. It’s a matter of not being anywhere they have been.

The items on your list do not kill when a child inhales a miniscule amount the way peanuts do. So I don’t think it’s fair to say that if you ban one thing, you have to ban everything else. You make a judgment for the safety of your students, and you move on.

April 20, 2007 at 10:37 am
(4) Angela says:

I have never experieced such positive reactions to a peanut ban.
I am a mother of a 4yr old, who is severly allergic to peanuts. Next year we will face public school. Our school does not favor a ban. I do have another child that has just finished elementary, so I do understand what I am facing. There is a great fear. A fear that is often down played by the school. To hear so many people (without allergies) express understanding is amazing. Thank you for the HOPE.

April 20, 2007 at 1:47 pm
(5) sylrayj says:

One comment suggested we ban a slew of additional things, and commented that citing a list of things banned in one school was thoughtless…

If anyone were to ask for a schoolwide ban of any food that was a serious allergen, then for that student’s time there I would most certainly agree.

Isn’t that what this is about? If it is likely to cause harm to a child who is forced to be in that environment, look at making sure it won’t harm that child. Is that so hard? Peanut butter is a big thing, because it’s so good for so many – but sure, if strawberries are a problem, keep them away from the affected student!

We may not like everyone else in our particular communities, but we are a community. Let’s pull together and be good to one another.

April 20, 2007 at 1:52 pm
(6) Eve says:

I’m (not)sorry, but trying to grab the high road as your own and denying it from anyone who goes against banning something as “unnecessary” as peanuts just blurs the situation being argued. So, ‘nuf of that! When I was in school I had a list of ingredients that wouldn’t necessarily kill me but had put me in the hospital for rheumatic fever (mistaken diagnosis)before if I consumed enough. From the time I was 6 my Mom made it my responsiblitiy to read labels to insure I didn’t. At school we were so poor that I had to live on peanut butter to get a decent source of protein to get me through the second half of the day. I couldn’t eat lots of foods I craved and school lunches are generally awful. Besides who wants to be labelled as getting free lunches? So peanut butter was my secret salvation. I also have a niece with dyslexia and another niece with autism. I am not cold – hearted or out of touch but I do understand personal limitations and the need to protect yourself and not leave it up to someone else. It may seem like a lot to ask of the very young but the very young can die and therefore they have to understand and protect themself from the things they can. The dyslexic has to get a tough shell and tell people to back off when she goes for her special ed class, the autistic needs protection as a person unable to protect herself and the child with killer allergies has to understand their responsibility over what goes in their mouth once they are old enough to let go of Mom’s hand and be in public places, etc., because food is literally everywhere, in everyone’s house and in most any building, store, etc. It is true that children are too immature to protect themsleves against everything and often get hurt but when you are talking about something as serious as killer allergies it is your responsibility as the parent to get that point across to them and specifically how to deal with it. It is not your neighbors responsiblity.

April 22, 2007 at 1:00 am
(7) Guy Barber says:

There are many people with a host of allergies, some minor some serious. Alot of people wear a medic alert braclet,necklace,or pin,which depicts any potential problem or health need. Iunderstand precautions but not banning. As your right to not have something is not a right to say I can`t. Any reasonable effort to assist a child in this area is ok! Many children brown bag their lunch and it`s not subject to your approval. Think how many children don`t even know about these problems that other children have. Awareness and information are in order , total ban I think not!!

April 22, 2007 at 3:11 pm
(8) NN says:

Oh, for heaven’s sake. I can’t believe all the comments using the same slippery-slope argument.

Yes. It’s true. We can’t always protect everyone from everything. But does that really mean that we shouldn’t bother protecting anybody from anything?

Yes. It’s true. People with allergies have to accept the ultimate responsibility for their own safety. And, y’know, I think the fact that they’re the ones who are facing death pretty much defines the term “ultimate responsibility.” So as long as the person with the allergy is the one monitoring his or her own food intake, learning how to use an epi-pen to save his or her own life in an emergency, and constantly scanning the environment for signs of the allergen in order to move out of harm’s way – I’d say that’s being pretty responsible.

So now, say this very same person touches a surface which, half an hour previously, had been touched by someone with peanut butter on their hands. The person with the allergy didn’t see the peanut butter anywhere nearby, nor could he or she smell it or otherwise notice it until it was too late. If the person goes into anaphylactic shock, is it really because he or she was failing to take responsibility? Seriously?

One more point, and forgive the bold here, but it seems that people have been wantonly overlooking this:

A person with peanut allergies does not need to eat peanuts in order to have a reaction. Breathing or touching peanut residue *left by someone else* can also be fatal.

So, please, enough of the “it’s your responsibility not to eat peanuts if you’re allergic to them.” Nobody actually disagrees with that.

The actual question is, should the person with an allergy have to predict whether or not other people’s actions might at any moment cause them to die? And would it really kill the rest of us to make that prediction unnecessary sometimes by assuring the person with an allergy that we won’t do something we know to be harmful?

That’s the question: would it kill us? Because it will kill them.

April 22, 2007 at 5:22 pm
(9) Watcher says:

I read about 40 of the original posts. I have a stepdaughter who is not allergic to anything, so I do not have a child with a life threatening allergy.

However, I do have friends who range from mildly allergic to severely allergic to various substances and foodstuffs.

I do understand the stance of those with children who have allergies, and I do understand the viewpoint of the parents who feel this will hinder other children’s rights.

One very important thing is that from a legal viewpoint, if a school refuses to comply with a request to be free of a substance that can cause death to one or any of its students, they are breaking the law. If a parent asks for reasonable accommodation for one child, the school needs to comply, particularly if the parent or child has a disability. This is an ADA regulation. It is the responsibility of the school and the parent(s) who made the request to come up with a solution, be it banning the substance or otherwise coming up with a creative solution that would be the best fit.

If a school complies with one parent’s request, it does not mean the school will be free of the banned substance indefinitely, if only while the child is there. It also doesn’t mean the school must rush to accommodate any other types of allergies, UNLESS another parent with probable cause asks for a REASONABLE ACCOMODATION. But this would and should be only in cases where the allergen can result in death.

One thing I haven’t read in any comment yet, is that any adult and child has the choice of where to go shopping, which restaurant to go to for a fancy dinner, etc. The important thing to note here is the freedom of choice. We as human beings choose where to go and we choose whether or not to be careful and mindful of what we do and don’t do, as well as what we eat and don’t eat. Keeping in mind that when a child attends a public school, the parent (more often than not) does not have a choice, of where their child goes. Does that mean that if a parent with a child with allergies wants to protect their precious and beloved son or daughter, they will have to send them to a private school or home school them, in order to comply with keeping this possible future leader of society safe?

The answer is NO. No one else has to consider that, and so parents of children with severe allergies shouldn’t have to.

April 23, 2007 at 11:07 am
(10) specialchildren says:

Thank you, NN! The slippery slope argument drives me crazy, too. You can’t do everything, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything. What’s so sacred about peanuts that you can’t suggest kids go without them one meal a day, five days a week, nine months a year? It seems like such a small thing to me.

Watcher, you made some great points about education law. And in addition to the point about people being able to choose to go to the mall and other venues, but not to school, I’d also mention that parents can accompany their child to those other places, but not to school. When you’re sending a child to school and having to trust others to provide life-saving assistance, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to seek as many precautions as possible.

April 24, 2007 at 8:48 am
(11) Betsy says:

My comment above was cut off. It should have read:

I have a child who is very small for her age (less than 3rd percentile) and is also a very selective eater. One of the few protein-rich foods she’ll eat with no complaint is peanut butter. Consequently, your suggestion to feed her something else falls on deaf ears. I’ve tried giving her chicken/turkey sandwiches, egg salad, tuna salad, hot dogs, etc., and none of them will satisfy.

I’ll be open to a peanut butter ban when you can come up with an acceptable alternative. Otherwise, I have no choice but to fight any attempt to deny her protein. For the record, an “acceptable alternative” shall be defined as equally nutritious, cost-effective, easy to prepare, and it must be something she’ll eat without objection.

What have you got?

April 24, 2007 at 9:46 am
(12) Pat Owens says:

My wonderful young 21 year old son was a victim of disregard for his nut allergy. A co-worker brought in a cake with crushed walnuts and my son who was extremely careful about nuts was not told about the nuts in the cake. He suffered anaphylactic shock and died. This subject needs to be looked at not only in schools but also in the work place.

April 24, 2007 at 9:55 am
(13) University Student says:

I think that our nation and we as a people should stop our pandering to the minorities. Yes, this is a serious issue, but we cannot just go bending over backward to accomodate those people who are exceptions. I understand that allergic reactions are a serious thing for some people, but to completely ban certain substances because they are deemed harmful to say 1 in 40 students is absurd. We also help to create an atmosphere in which these people allow themselves to let their guard down when we label the area free of certain items, which I think is an injustice to them because we know we cannot perfectly seal off an area. What I think needs to be done is keep peanuts and similar items, but instead seek to educate the children regarding their own allergies and the allergies of those around them. It would probably also be instructive to teach these children what to look for in their classmates with allergies and what to do in the event that one has a reaction. America needs to stop bending over and sacrificing the comfort of the majority in order to please minorities.

April 24, 2007 at 10:12 am
(14) Elise says:

I agree that we need to stop bending over backwards just to please minorities. I understand how dangerous peanuts can be for some people, however, it is important that these children are aware that they must watch out for themselves. No one is going to do this for them when they’re older and they need to ask “are there nuts in this?” as well as be aware of their surroundings.

If they do encounter nuts they need to know what to do – similar to children with inhalers, they know how to take care of themselves.

There are nuts in the world, deal with it. Instead of trying to ban everything, let’s learn to find a way to live with them. Getting rid of everything is NOT the answer! Stop pandering to the minorities!

April 24, 2007 at 10:45 am
(15) bcc says:

Comment #14 above illustrates poignantly the tragic consequences of creating “nut-free” food “safety zones.”

At 21 years old, and capable of holding down a job, the writer’s son was clearly old and responsible enough to carry an epi-pen at all times. More importantly, he was old and responsible enough to KNOW BETTER than to have eaten that cake which he hadn’t baked! If you know that you have a life-threatening allergy, WHY would you do something so careless as to eat baked goods you hadn’t personally prepared?

Sadly, in this case the young man apparently relied on others to remember his allergies and take care FOR him in a matter of life and death. Maybe he told the baker he was allergic to nuts before hand and the baker assumed only peanuts? Maybe the baker passed on the project to someone else and didn’t mention it? Maybe the baker didn’t know about the severity of his allergy? Who knows?

The point is that he obviously felt “safe” and “comfortable” relying on other people to always keep the particulars and severity of his allergies at the forefront of their minds. In retrospect it should be obvious that was a recipe for disaster. If only he’d taken PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY, and been skeptical and cautious the tragedy could no doubt have been avoided.

The best thing we can do for such people is make sure they’re raised without the false sense of security created by “nut-free zones”, nor the inclination to rely on others for matters of their own life and death.

April 24, 2007 at 11:34 am
(16) specialchildren says:

A couple of commenters have mentioned “pandering to minorities” as being a problem with our nation (presumably the U.S., although there are international readers of this site). I see it differently — I think that taking into account the needs of all citizens and encouraging people to consider how their actions affect others is one of the strengths of America, and not something to discard lightly.

We have laws that ensure that those with disabilities are fully included in schools and workplaces, and that mandate that their needs should be accommodated. I think that has the potential to greatly enrich our society, but it does involve a certain amount of sacrifice all around. Are we at a point where sacrifice, even of something so small as a peanut-butter sandwich at one meal a day, five days a week, for the good of another is unthinkable?

The problem with railing against “pandering to minorities” is that any one of us, at any moment, can become a minority. We’re all one car accident or one bad diagnosis away. When it’s you or your child who requires accommodations, what now looks like “pandering to minorities” may well become “standing up for rights.”

I don’t deny that peanut bans are an imperfect solution, and Betsy has an excellent reason for saying that it would not work for her child. But saying that considering the needs of minorities is a weakness is something I completely don’t agree with. Can’t we all work together to consider what we can do for each other?

April 24, 2007 at 11:47 am
(17) Robert says:

I have not said that considering the needs of the minority is a weakness because it is not. If you interpreted my post as such I’m sorry. I think we need to stop forcing what will work for the minority on the majority. In mathematics one often finds that what may work in a special case often does not apply well if at all to the general case and fails miserably when this is tried often giving results that are complete garbage. This can be applied well outside the realm of mathematics. I will say that we need to work together to reach a solution, which will benefit all, but one cannot give more weight to the minority in such situations just because of their status. America as a whole seems to do this rather frequently, and it needs to stop before we find ourselves in a situation where even a pound of cure won’t help.

April 24, 2007 at 12:35 pm
(18) KE says:

I am a school nurse and know a lot about all sorts of severe life threatening health conditions. I have read many of the comments and agree and disagree with some. I do agree that making schools “peanut free zones” is not a great solution and is more like applying a band aide to the problem. I do agree that one of the best things a parent with a child with allergies can do is educate themselves, their children and those that care for their child about their allergies, what triggers the allergy, what are signs and symptoms of severe allergic shock and what to do if an allergen is encountered, and ALWAYS have an emergency plan in place and make sure your child is aware of it and knows how to follow it. Also there are new state laws that allow children to have open access to their epi-pens, meaning they can carry them and or have them within moments reach should they encounter an allergen. The world is not “peanut free” and even if you make a school peanut free you can still have kids who eat peanuts or peanut butter at home and still have the residue and or odor on the clothing which could still cause a reaction, therefore if a child thought there was nothing to worry about, their guard was down and left his or her epi-pen out of reach and then encountered the allergen what would happen?? The argument was made that parents can accompany their children to other places, not to school but can a parent see what is barely visible, if there can be peanut residue or odor at school it can be in any public place and a person with any life threatning condition should always be prepared. If we start banning peanuts then we would have to look at banning milk and dairy for those allergic to that, we would have to ban certain fruits for those allergies, we’d have to ban perfume and cleaning agents, we’d have to say that no employee or parent could smoke in their homes or on their break even if it was in their car because if an asthmatic person can smell smoke then they are breathing it and it can cause a serious attack, the list goes on and on. People with any serious health condition needs to be fully educated on what to avoid and what they can do to help themselves should they encounter a problem. SHould we protect children of course but the first line of defense needs to be education and prevention, not banning things. I think it may be reaonable for a parent to request a peanut free classroom but no whole building as it does then effect everyone. I work at a school that has a huge number of kids who get free and reduced breakfast and lunch and providing protein rich low-cost foods is essential. Educating people about health conditions, creating effective, easy to follow emergency care plans, and giving them the tools to pritect themselves i.e epi-pens is essential!! It is the same for asthmatics avoiding triggers and having access to life saving inhalers! Banning things doesn’t solve the problem, it is only a band aide!

April 24, 2007 at 4:11 pm
(19) Tom E says:

We have a friend whose son has peanut allergies. His school (Pinewood) came up with a very clever solution, similar to the library idea previously mentioned. They made a peanut-free table (they eat outside if it is nice). Instead of banning peanut butter completely, we as adults have to look for a solution, even if it means a compromise. A separate eating area, or some buffer zone, if this works, would seem a reasonable accomodation.

However, having said this, there may be those with severe allergies that cannot even be in the same room after lunch with someone who ate peanut butter; what other accomodations can be made here? If the only solution is to ban PB, then so be it. Send the kid with a cheese sandwich until they get home, then break out the peanut butter!

As Robert said above, you cannot force the majority to do what is right for the minority, but even so, you can work together to see if there is a compromise position where we don’t have to just completely isolate ourselves from each other.

April 24, 2007 at 5:44 pm
(20) B says:

The examples that you’re using for things that are banned from schools have nothing to do with students’ allergies(with possibly the exception of lice). Cigarettes, drugs, weapons…? Those things have to do with dress codes, controlled substances(for minors and adults), and things that disrupt the classroom.

While I understand that you’re concerned for your child, an allergy to peanuts is not the only allergy out there. I have a friend who’s allergic to a multitude of things, ever since he was little and he was just smart about it. Either pay for your kid to go to a peanut-free school or home school them.

April 24, 2007 at 8:37 pm
(21) A. Pan says:

When this issue came up in my child’s school, I was frustrated at first, then I thought of it this way. Do I want my child to see one of her classmates or a teacher die? Do I want her to be one of the ones who ate a peanut butter sandwich that day? Absolutely not.

There are enriched breads and flours, there are meal-replacement drinks, and there is enough food that a child can eat that will get them through the day and they can eat their peanut butter at home and get more protein then. If it came down to my child having to make sure to get a little extra protein in her afterschool snack, I would rather that than someone else risk losing their precious child. We simply do not take peanuts or peanut butter out of the house, and we always make it clear that anything from our house was not prepared in a peanut-free environment.

I have worked in an institution that was peanut and fish free. We did not serve tuna sandwiches or fish sticks in the public cafeteria because one of our residents (whose food was prepared in another area) had a fatal fish allergy that could kill her if she so much as smelled it. We did not sell peanut-containing candies in the vending machine or have any such products in any kitchen. That potentially ‘inconvenienced’ thousands of people a day, yet I never heard a single complaint.

The number of people who must subsist on peanut butter is far smaller than those who could be permanently, even fatally, affected. Not to protect the life of a another person when we are aware of the problem is unconscionable. Arguing that it could happen anywhere at any time anyway to anyone is utterly disingenous.

April 24, 2007 at 11:26 pm
(22) Emily says:

I’m sick of peanut allergies being so important. I have 14 food allergies, peanut being one of them, but one of my lesser ones (for the time being, at least). Oh, and to the person who said “Most childhood allergies subside with time,” in the previous thread of comments on the other article…well, that’s not true, there is no certain way allergies escalate or diminish. I never had reactions to foods until I was 15 years old, and currently I’m 17 and they’re continally getting worse. I’ve developed 7 more food allergies within those two years.

I’m not sure how I feel about the whole “peanut free” issue. There are plenty of ways to make it a “win-win” situation. All students could be not allowed to bring their own food to school and it would only be sold in the lunch room, pb&j included, but kids with severe allergies could eat lunch somewhere else. I don’t go to the lunch room, it’s not that big of a deal, so don’t try to say it’s going to hurt your child’s social development, etc, etc, because that’s ridiculous. I don’t eat lunch in the lunch room, and havent for a long time because the smells of certain things I’m allergic to, like onions and garlic.

Also, with this whole school fiasco stuff and people getting upset about their kids hardships…just wait until they start applying for college. It’s a load of crap, they’ll have to apply for special housing so they’ll be able to cook their own food, becuase most undergrad housing only has a small fridge in the dorm room, maybe a microwave, and maybe a kitchen that is shared with the whole floor, so you end up applying to upperclass housing like apartments. It’s extra paperwork, extra stess, and a waste of my time.

On a happier note, there’s this sort-of new medication called Xolair and it blocks IgE, the things that bind to cells and causes allergic reactions, but its currently only being used for “allergic asthma” but it’s been tested on peanut allergy people and they’re trying to get the dosing right…I mean, I’d be glad to take it, but even if I did, I wouldn’t go indulge in the things I’m allergic to…I just wouldnt be so afraid of all foods that might contain traces of things, or on labels when it says “natural flavors.”

April 24, 2007 at 11:39 pm
(23) Emily says:

Call it morbid…but none of these allergy issues would exist if it weren’t for medical technologies and advances. Natural selection doesnt exist anymore because of these things, therefore allergies are passed on through families because people don’t die from them anymore like they did back in the day.

Well, the high amount of allergies is probably also partially caused by how polluted the earth is, because our immune systems can only handle so much before they start overresponding to everything and fighting things it shouldnt…so let me ask this…how many of you mommies are driving a gas guzzling SUV to drop Billy off at school with his peanut free lunch? Ride a bike.

Case closed.

April 25, 2007 at 8:42 am
(24) Josh Freeman says:

To respond to Emily, Peanut allergies, and many other food allergies, are more likely to be the result of pathological over-cleanliness than SUV-driving. And I would ride a bike if I could get to work without being run over. I gave up biking to work when I was almost side-swiped. By a cop.

I can’t in good conscience say banning peanuts is a good idea. When I was young, it was one of the few foods I would eat. I can see banning peanuts in school lunches, but I’m sorry, you’re not going to tell me what my kid can bring to school. And it would be a good idea if you could. As many of the posters have pointed out, peanut products are in many surprising places. IF peanuts products were banned at school tomorrow, what’s going to stop Little Billy from bringing in something containing peanuts that isn’t properly labeled, or that he doesn’t realize contains peanuts, or just doing it because it’s banned, and he’s exerting his independence. You aren’t going to search kids at the door to make sure they don’t have any peanut products. It’s a hell of a lot smarter to 1) teach the affected kid to be VERY careful, 2)teach the affected kid, and the staff of the school what an EPI pen is and how to use it, 3) Allow the kid to carry his EPI pen at all times, and 4) Teach the other children in his or her class what an allergic reaction is and to get a teacher if they see one occurring. Rather than pampering children unnecessarily, use this as a didactic moment.

April 25, 2007 at 9:12 am
(25) ximena says:

Why do american parents think peanut butter and jelly is such a good choice for their kids? Granted, all parents, world wide, want the best for their children… But in this case, peanut butter and jelly has more to do with habit than nutrition… PB&J’s are fattening, full of sugar and, therefore, addictive… If you’re brought up on this type of food you will certainly find it difficult to switch to proper, nurturing meals that involve salads, vegetables and grains and, admittedly, a bit more work… (god forbid cooking!) However, this is the way to go people! If you haven’t yet realised, I am not american… From an outsider’s point of view, PB&J’s aren’t indispensable! (I haven’t had one since I went to preschool in the US)… I find it extremely selfish and disrespectful to not support those genuinly and rightfuly concerned parents who didn’t choose for their kids to have an allergy that might kill them any day. Oh, and I simply don’t buy that some kids cannot eat anything else… Surely, there’s less of those kids than the ones at risk of dying from peanuts.

April 25, 2007 at 11:11 am
(26) Catie Zebrowski says:

I believe that food should all be properly labeled, have a list of ingredients posted. But to ban peanut butter and all other products seems to me for just one mother going to far. I agree with Rdavis to a degree. If you are going to ban peanut butter, then you should ban other things as well. Now if the school has about 50% children allergic to peanuts, ok ban it! I also think that a child or teacher should be able to carry it in to school. Someone else had said what about the children that need peanut butter? What about vegetarians? That is a main source of protein for them. There should always be exceptions to the rules. There are exceptions to some of the things you said were banned. And I agree with those things, though I didn’t in high or middle school, I do now. Peanut allergies are a serious thing, but so are the other 10,000 others. I think that people should be more educated on their allergies, and learn what to watch for. If serious allergies are at risk, then start labeling. Whether the school bans it or not, I do not think they should be able to stop a student from bringing in their own!

April 25, 2007 at 11:14 am
(27) Betsy says:

Ximena,

Who cares whether or not you “buy it” that some kids’ best source of protein is peanut butter? What makes you think your opinion is of any relevance whatsoever?

You’re not my child’s parent. You don’t attend her pre-school. You don’t know how petite she is and what an effort is has taken to put weight on her. You’re obviously not a nutritional expert since you apparently don’t understand the amount of fat babies & toddlers need for their brains to grow properly.

Eating pb&j is a perfect solution for her. Either come up with an equally nutritious, cost-conscious, easy-to-prepare alternative that she’ll eat without objection? Or shut your pb&j-hole. M-kay?

April 25, 2007 at 1:42 pm
(28) B. Johnson says:

According to Forbes, on average, one person–ONE PERSON–dies in the US each year from peanut allergies. Now, let’s say Forbes is off the mark by, I don’t know, 500%. That would mean FIVE PEOPLE (not kids, PEOPLE) die from peanut allergies every year on average.

You know what kills more kids than that? Everything. I’m with the poster up at the top. Why not ban eggs, fish, shellfish, chocolate, and wheat too? Welcome to America, where it’s never my problem, it’s the school board’s and everyone else’s.

Spend your time on bicycle helmets and car seats before we retreat back into the famously debunked “razor blades in halloween apples” myth.

April 25, 2007 at 3:14 pm
(29) John M says:

Look, when we were growing up, kids with developmental and behavioral issues were all segregated out of the general population. The peanut allergy is a developmental issue, so segregate, but let them play outside with the other kids – surely no one is going to keep a mouth full of peanut butter ready to spit on them near the kickball court (if they have not banned that already, the way of tag and dodgeball).

I think that the animosity on the part of some to this topic is that we have already banned ridiculous things (again, tag and dodgeball) and so this *seems* to be another banning request from the hysterically over-protective. Basically, people have picked the first thing that has come down the pike after a rash of knee-jerk mealy-mouthedness that is turning our children into non-competitive wusses, and decided to battle over it. It’s the wrong issue to fight over, but there have to be solutions outside banning peanuts.

I also read one comment on the previous thread that hypothesized the lovably conspiracy-minded theory that it’s the fault of new agricultural methods and chemicals. Speaking scientifically, it is more likely that children today are brought up in a “clean room” mentality that keeps them away from germs they should come into contact with, that help build their immune systems. We’re doing all of this to ourselves because of our collective Howard Hughes-like paranoia regarding germs.

April 25, 2007 at 4:03 pm
(30) Lisa says:

I am an allergy technician at a doctor’s office. I test adults and children for both environmental and food allergies. When anyone tests positive to any food, or even if they test negative to all foods but have had any type of allergic reaction in the past to a food, we give them this advice: Carry an epi-pen at all times and avoid this food forever (literally for the rest of your life). Because food allergies are potentially deadly, and because allergies can come and go throughout your life, the patient must always be vigilant. The world is not a “safe zone”, and to allow a child (or an adult) to feel that there are places that are okay to relax their guard in is irresponsible.

It would certainly be nice if people with food allergies could have a safe, relaxing environment to live in, but even in a nut-free school the patient should never relax, never cease to be vigilant. The better alternative to any type of food ban in schools is to educate all students and staff about food allergies, symptoms, and use of epi-pens. Educated students would very likely make their own choices to not bring offending foods into school, but again, even in a completely nut-free school, those allergic must never let down their guard.

April 25, 2007 at 4:52 pm
(31) Mikhail says:

“I’ll be open to a peanut butter ban when you can come up with an acceptable alternative. Otherwise, I have no choice but to fight any attempt to deny her protein. For the record, an “acceptable alternative” shall be defined as equally nutritious, cost-effective, easy to prepare, and it must be something she’ll eat without objection.”

So to you, and acceptable alternative means that it cannot cost you a few dollars, cannot take more than a few minutes to prepare, and cannot require a little bit of effort on your part to convince the child to eat it? You can feed her supplements after school. You have solutions. To you, it would be unacceptable to spare the life of another child if it was not ‘easy to prepare’!

I myself have no allergies, and no child who does. At one time, however, I was anorexic myself (around seven years old). I refused to eat, and my single mother was on welfare, but she still managed to feed me well enough that I managed to live. If your child will die out of the inconvenience of packing other nutritious lunches, or convincing her to take supplements, then I urge you, protest peanut bans. But I lived through it, because my mother actually tried to come up with alternatives, despite having no money and being in debt to divorce lawyers.

April 25, 2007 at 7:01 pm
(32) Betsy says:

Mikhail,

That’s terrific that your mother did what she needed to do in order to take care of you to the best of her ability. I applaud her. Sincerely. In fact, that’s exactly what I’m trying to do for my children (who, in my opinion, need to eat a certain amount of protein at lunchtime, especially during school).

I’m sorry to hear that you were anorexic. I was too. Between high school and my undergrad years I had to be hospitalized for anorexia, so I’m sympathic to the disruption it can bring to one’s life. That’s one of the primary reasons I am so adamant about not having food battles with my children: I’m not going to set up a pattern to trying to force them to eat things they don’t want to eat.

My daughter is three, she needs protein, and she likes peanut butter. You can re-program your children if you want to, but no sir, I will not re-program mine.

April 27, 2007 at 6:18 pm
(33) Jo says:

I understand the peanut allergy issue, and the need to avoid all sources of “contamination”. But as one person pointed out, there are other things that cause equally severe reactions to other students.
My grandson has a very rare allergy to all things mammal. He can not eat beef, pork, or lamb products of any kind without severe reactions including anaphylactic shock. This of course includes the by-products of dairy such as milk, cheese, etc…including that from goat or sheep or whatever.
So – touching a table top where another child spilled his milk, or greasy lunchmeat residue, could be as dangerous to my grandson as the child with the peanut allergy and peanut residue on a tabletop.
So should we expect the entire school to stop ALL dairy and meat products from coming in to his school? Even with the knowledge that he has life threatening reactions to meat and dairy?
No, we do not believe so. We will expect that he be provided a safe environment to eat the meals he will bring from home. This means that the lunchroom staff would disinfect a table for him to eat at where we can be fairly comfortable that he will not be exposed to things tht would harm him.
A peanut free environment is relatively easy to accomodate. But if we started demanding dairy and meat free it wouldn’t go far…My point being that one allergy is no different than another and all should be treated equally seriously.
The parents teach the children, educate the teachers and other staff. and pray.

April 29, 2007 at 4:27 am
(34) not a mother yet says:

we are talking of little tiny tots here who may not be responsible enough without parental guidance!
and anyway, pb&j is not very healthy, it is very fattening. could i suggest an alternative? pls try and encourage your daughter to eat chickpeas or baked beans, an excellent source of protein.

April 29, 2007 at 11:49 pm
(35) Hello says:

Darwinism?

April 30, 2007 at 2:47 am
(36) Marc in Taiwan says:

Of course, the larger question is why food is killing and sickening Americans. I’ve lived in Europe and now in Asia and rarely witness this phenomenon. Many of the dishes here in Taiwan include peanuts, but I never hear about anyone dying from eating them.

But, apropos to the topic at hand, I was one of those allergic kids (now old allergic guy). My allergic reactions used to be severe, but not lethal.

To prevent allergic reactions while at school my mother simply packed my lunch with alternative foods, and I was warned not to sneak junk foods or snack on anything offered to me by other kids or teachers.

Suffice it to say, even at the elementary school level, the threat of illness was enough to prevent me from “cheating.” Most kids have common sense — or at least learn from the “once burned, twice shy” lesson.

I would mention one thing I haven’t seen here: The use of peanuts in by-product form is so common in processed food these days, and it is not always clearly labelled on package ingredients. For anyone with a lethal allergy, the consumption of any processed food is a risk, and yet those are the foods that most Americans eat. Even some of the bulk ingredients used in cafeteria food contain some peanuts.

The only solution I see is to pack your kids lunches and warn them, as my folks did, about what will happen if you eat the forbidden foods!

May 1, 2007 at 1:10 am
(37) wyatt says:

i posted once on the last thread, and id like to say that you all are repeating yourselves.

the fact that opponents of the ban fail to address is that the peanut allergen, of all food allergens, can be air-borne.

i would like you to imagine a scenario. it is an entirely fictitious scenario, but is similar to the situation at hand. ( i wonder if a layer of abstraction from the reality will help us all look at this more clearly, without bias. but i am incapable of such metaphor so i will just tweak the details so it applies to adults )

imagine a society in which your profession is chosen by the state, and you are required to attend the workplace regularly, unless you choose to increase your risk of demotion, in addition to forfeiting much of your salary — otherwise you and your colleagues receive the exact same pay and benefits, and all have precisely equal opportunity for promotion or demotion, because this state believes in equality above all.
it so happens that you are made to be a “pencil-pusher” and work in a cubicle.
lets think about your reactions to the following circumstances.
1) the jack in the box next to you listens to baroque era music on his little radio every day at noon. currently he is allowed to do this because, frankly, nobody said he couldnt. everybody else on the floor, including you can hear his music, and while not everybody prefers baroque, nobody really objects either, except you. (you dont play any music in the work place, btw.) how do you feel?
that addresses people doing things others dont appreciate. how many of you would like jack to stop playing your least favorite music?

2) in the bathroom, most people at your job replace the toilet paper roll if they use the last of it. but sometimes, you sit down in the stall, and when you are done, there is no t-p. how do you feel now?
this covers the anonymity

3) some of your co-workers complain of ladybugs in their cubicles. some of these few use toxic pesticides, organophosphates in particular. one of them even insists that organophosphates are the only effective remedy for the bugs. the state supplies a set number of oxygen masks, and NIOSH suits, but the number of employees has increased lately, and there arent enough for you to have one. should your co-workers be allowed to apply their pesticides? should you just accept is as fate and die? maybe you should sacrifice your status, your benefits and livelihood, and your salary.

it would seem that most people would say, “you can listen to your music at home.” then they might add, “a person should take responsibility for their actions, and not make problems for others.”
so for the opponents of the ban i pose a single question, and i would like a reasonable and straight-forward answer. if you can provide one, ill shut up, and accept it.
why would you force a person to leave society or risk sudden death?

May 1, 2007 at 4:29 am
(38) Marc in Taiwan says:

Well, Wyatt, I’m not sure I can provide a satisfactory answer since I think your question is a matter of ethics. I believe you are expressing the ethical quandary: Should we consider the sacrifice of one (or a few) for the good of many, or the reverse?

Of course, you can legislate human behavior all you want, including banning kids from eating peanut-whatever at school, but rules and laws are followed because people think they’re acceptable and/or fair. I am sure many people are sympathetic toward highly allergic kids, and parents and schools can ask for people to be considerate.

But all it takes is one kid sneaking a Snickers bar or one forgetful parent packing a peanutbutter cookie in a school lunch to wreak potential havoc.

Furthermore, a child who suffers from lethal reactions to anything airborne is at risk everywhere.

May 1, 2007 at 9:00 am
(39) specialchildren says:

I’ve been reading all these comments, and I still don’t get why it’s so unthinkable to legislate what kids bring for lunch. We legislate what they wear, what they learn, what school supplies they need, when they eat, where they eat, how long they have to eat … and yet so many parents seem to be saying “How dare you tell me what my child can eat!” Why is the contents of the lunch bag so sacrosanct?

If a child legitimately won’t eat anything but peanut butter, then that’s a problem. But if parents are saying they won’t keep their children from eating something they enjoy one meal a day, five days a week, nine months of the year, just because, and regardless of how it affects others — that just seems selfish to me, and giving kids a sense of entitlement that doesn’t really serve our society well.

No, you can’t guarantee a peanut-free environment. But you can make it more peanut-free, and you can heighten everyone’s awareness by making them change their behavior a little bit, and present kids with an opportunity to experience caring for others not just in the abstract way of bringing a can of soup for a food drive but in a concrete way of giving up something you like. It doesn’t have to be an outrage unless parents make it that way.

I’ll say it again — just because you can’t do everything doesn’t mean you can’t do anything. Why draw such a line in the sand around a lunch bag?

Marc wrote: “Should we consider the sacrifice of one (or a few) for the good of many, or the reverse?” and yes, that is the gist of the dilemma. But don’t you have to also look at the significance of the sacrifice? All things are not equal here. You’re saying that one child should sacrifice his life, or at least his sense of safety and inclusion at school, so that his classmates can enjoy their lunch of choice. This seems to me one situation in which the many could easily make a sacrifice to benefit the few. Is that never to be allowed to happen?

May 2, 2007 at 7:49 pm
(40) John M says:

“Why draw such a line in the sand around a lunch bag?”

Everyone seems to be blowing by the obvious, and I think I actually said it before: it just so happens that after a tidal wave of ridiculous compromises like banning tag, allowing political films to be taught in classes and a whole raft of other stuff, it just happens that this is the issue where people have chosen to draw the line. This is a battle that should have happened long ago.

Me, I am still curious to see someone provide a link to a documented case where the airborne “peanut pathogen” killed someone. I have yet to read any such article, and being the eternal skeptic, would like to see some scientific proof that there is a need to ban peanut products from school.

What about kids who are allergic to wheat gluten? Do they have special food offered in cafeterias for them only so that they can buy lunch too? What about kids allergic to bee stings? Do they provide beekeeper suits for recess as they sit around and don’t run around since tag is banned?

May 2, 2007 at 8:09 pm
(41) John M. says:

OK, I looked it up myself and found the following on a site called netwellness.org:

“Recently concern has been raised that peanut protein in the air will trigger a full-blown anaphylaxis since respiratory exposure can occur in the school setting as food proteins aerosolize into vapors during cooking at high temperatures…

So, according to this, the aerosolization of the proteins that trigger the reaction occurs when they are cooked at high temperatures. This leads to two conclusions:

1. Stop cooking with peanut oils (reasonable, just switch to vegetable oils or alter the menu)

2. Banning peanut butter sandwiches, which are not cooked at high temperatures but are consumed at room temperature, which would not lead to aerosolization, is another example of the hysterical over-reactionary attitude we are adopting as a society.

Unless I receive notice of something that contradicts these conclusions, the solution is for parents to explain to their kids not to eat peanut butter sandwiches when they are allergic. Problem solved.

May 4, 2007 at 12:26 pm
(42) Angel says:

Like I stated in another post. It comes to a balance. A child’s life versus my child have a PB sandwich. There are several options. Come get you kid for lunch. Will he or she perish without the beloved PB? Will you not feed them at home after school? Have a snack waiting. I would much rather endure the meltdown of my son than live with the fact that PB took the life of a child. And yes, it can be and is that deadly for some that even the smell. I have a friend who has that allergy. I myself have a tree nut allergy that even touching the nut or if oil is on anything causes me to stop breathing.
We hate it when I children are told to go elsewhere, find another school…how do you think the child with this allergy feels?
Check the balance my friend.

May 4, 2007 at 1:54 pm
(43) sylrayj says:

I have been searching online for more information. I’ve found a lot of the same things.

People who know about their allergies and take them seriously are still dying, mostly because they didn’t know the food was in what they were ingesting.

People who don’t have these allergies (and some who do) don’t understand that they CAN KILL. A few of those are purposely exposing their victims to foods that will kill them.

There are a few things that seem to make the difference between if someone with food allergies will live or die.

- awareness of the allergy
- diligence in avoiding it
- understanding of what anaphylaxis looks like
- ability to administer an epi-pen IMMEDIATELY, because even a minute can be too late
- follow-up IMMEDIATELY to get the victim to a hospital

The first two steps are the easiest.

May 6, 2007 at 10:43 pm
(44) John M says:

And yes, it can be and is that deadly for some that even the smell.

Provide scientific evidence, not anecdotal evidence without a shred of support.

I myself have a tree nut allergy that even touching the nut or if oil is on anything causes me to stop breathing.

Not the same thing. So long as you are wise enough not to eat or touch peanut by-products, you are fine. If I eat a PB&J sandwich, you are not affected. Done.

September 10, 2007 at 4:01 pm
(45) Donny K says:

This is a very difficult issue and there is no easy answer.

If my child had such a severe allergy, I would not send him or her to school. I would either home school or hire a tutor.

Part of my issue with the peanut, tree nut and latex ban at my school is that it was sprung on parents: Children returned home from school with a flier that described the ban. For the last two years, my child has taken to school a peanut butter sandwich, snack crackers that often include peanut butter and a granola bar that may include peanuts or traces of peanuts.

All three of my children have subsisted primarily on peanut butter sandwiches and are all among the top students in their class. The oldest ranks second in junior class of 157 students. All three are 3-sport athletes. The youngest, who just set the school record in the mile run, will be affected by the ban. All of a sudden, I’m being asked to change the diet of a child who is one of the best student athletes in the school.

What do I change it to? Lunch meat is more expensive and less healthy. Every compliant food I’ve found is far more expensive than what I’ve been feeding him. I’m still willing to go this route, but it’s suddenly starting to irk me. There’s nothing wrong with my child or the children of hundreds of others at the school, yet all of the sudden were being asked to give our children something we don’t want to, pay more for it and spend countless hours reading food labels.

True, for me individually, it’s not a big hardship. But when you look at hundreds of people paying more, sacrificing and spending time reading food labels even though their children are healthy, you begin to see the issue. It’s like I read a statistic about how much gas was wasted by a single pothole in the road when thousands and thousands or cars had to repeatedly drive around it. The obvious solution? Fix the pothole.

Hundreds of people should not have to sacrifice for one or two children. Ban the nuts in their classroom. Let them eat by themselves in a special room. By all means sanitize all surfaces as frequently as possible. But don’t make hundreds of families waste time and cheat their own kids. That is just plain selfish.

September 22, 2007 at 5:44 am
(46) Joanna says:

Theoretically, I am all for letting kids eat what they want at school (as long as it is reasonably healthy). My daughter has a severe peanut allergy. If another child eats peanuts and touches her desk, or her bag, or her skin, she will begin early symptoms of analphylactic shock upon contact. Up until this school year, we have managed with a “peanut-free” table at school, with reasonable (though not perfect) success.

However, at the beginning of this school year, my daughter had SIX allergic reactions in the same week at school, each one progressively worse than the next. Without eating anything with peanuts in it.

The class started washing hands at the beginning of the school day, and the teacher realized that lining up at the lockers (where the lunches are kept) was precipitating reactions, so the class started lining up on the opposite side of the room, in a strange (but safer) spot. The kids that mix between two classes and carry their lunches over now have to put their lunches in the hallway. There is a big deal made about how to keep her safe. Constantly. After all, she did have six reactions in front of her peers in one week’s time.

Take little miss confident. Well, she became scared to go to school, crying and saying that she was afraid that she was going to die. How heartbreaking!

Now that life in her class revolves around keeping her safe, she is no longer having reactions at school. Instead, she is embarrassed and feels like a social outcast. Even with explanation, many of the young kids don’t “get it.” They think she is a peanut allergy freak, or that she is making things up. My daughter’s self esteem is going through the floor despite the fact that she is gifted and is one of the most delightful kids in the school (the teachers have told me this, I’m not just saying it). She does have some friends who have voluntarily decided to go peanut-free, without being asked, so that she is always guaranteed someone to sit with and because they enjoy her company. But this is not enough to insulate her from reality. The stigma and the fear are very real at this point.

We took our daughter to the allergist again for a re-evaluation, hoping that maybe there was something else that was more easily avoidable that she has been reacting to. The answer is no. It is the peanuts. Hours later, she has an absolutely huge wheal on her back to prove it (and lots of screaming and crying behind her in the doctor’s office).

So, do I really want a peanut ban in my child’s school? No. But at this point I am afraid that I don’t see a good alternative. Right now it seems like a choice between my daughter’s physical health or her mental health. It is not fair to have to choose.

But are there good alternatives to peanut butter for other kids? Yes. Sunbutter tastes almost the same (taste tests show kids love it!), looks the same, and is provided to schools in the same way as peanut butter. It is sold at Target for less than the cost of most peanut butters. There is also soy butter. There are options for the other kids. Without leaving my daughter crying each morning before school, worried that she is going to die. Without leaving me hanging onto my cell phone for dear life, worried that the school is going to call with more bad news. Without the day revolving completely around her and keeping the peanuts that are all around out of her immediate environment.

So, do I think a ban is OK now? Well, a partial ban. What do I mean? Let’s eliminate blatant sources of peanuts…foods that obviously have peanuts or peanut butter in them. Foods that only have trace amounts, why not let other kids eat them? They aren’t the primary source of the oils that are all over the place. My daughter knows what not to eat, but she can’t go through the day without touching a single surface in the school, and she doesn’t have microscopic vision that tells her what is OK to touch and what is not OK to touch. Eliminating the main source of peanut oils in the school environment would greatly reduce her risk (and allow her to relax enough to learn…which is the main point of school…and you can’t learn if you are in the nurse’s office or the hospital, except that school is a dangerous place). Yet, she would still have to remain aware that her environment would not be 100% safe. It never is anywhere, really, except at home. Plus, other parents wouldn’t have to become hypervigilant regarding foods and ingredient labels. Just don’t send PB&J, a bag of peanuts, or Nutter Butters.

To me, even a partial ban seems like a radical step for a school to take. I am scared to even ask. I hate to be difficult. I hate to be the center of attention. But, at the same time, I have to stand up for my daughter. If I don’t, who will?

October 4, 2007 at 12:09 pm
(47) Shirly says:

I would like to tell everyone a very intersting stroy. My daughter has a boy in her class, which they claim he has a very very severe peanut allergy. He will die! They calim! Our school now requires us to have everything prepackaged and labeled. We can’t bring anything from the local bakery.I can’t make my children cupcakes or treat for their class.We have even elaminated the cake walk at our fun night! We have peanut-free areas. The kids who bring peanut butter to lunch have to brush thier teeth and wash their hands afterward. Everyone has made these changes for this one boy. My daughter comes home and said the kids dared this boy, who is in the 5th grade, to rub a peanut all over him to see what would happen. The boy did it and says “It’s relly not that bad”then went and washed his hands. He was fine. I was like “what!” So excuse me when I do think that these parents are over reacting. I find it funny that there are no medical professional comments. I agree with the person that commented about we have made all these accomidations at the school for the kids with peanut allergies but then they go eat at a resaurant with peanuts all over the floor. I feel bad for these kids. It is unfortunate for them, but not my problem. I just want to know what happend to the majorty winning? This is absolutly rediculous and you need to take care and be responsible for your own child. I don’t ask you to get in my problems. Oh! I’m the most compasinate person you will ever know, but I think the voices of the parents with peanut allergies have been a little louder then the ones who don’t. I think it is time to yell back! My kid has the right to have peanut butter!!! You don’t wnat your kid to be isolated but my kid should. Dont’t think so1!

October 4, 2007 at 12:24 pm
(48) Emily says:

My son comes home from school now and thinks he can’t have peanut butter because he might die from it and has no allergies what so ever.This is what he is being taught and it’s not from me. Sorry #46 who Miss confidate thinks she is going to die if she goes to school. Who has she heard that from. What are people teaching are children? Did you tell her her chances of dying in the car on the way to school is more likely to happen than her dying from her paenut allergy. Is she scared to get in the car! Has nayone really looked up how many people die from peanut allergies! I have, not many! Now i do feel bad for the girl that she has that allergy and has to suffer. I had a asthma in school and had allergic reactions all the time. I was in the nurses office a lot. I’m OK and took responsibilty for my allergy. My parents never requested special accomidations for me. Shut, maybe I wish they would have now. Look what the paenut allery families have done! I agree with:
Where do you draw the line people.

June 22, 2008 at 5:11 pm
(49) Daisy says:

I am currently a teacher doing a research project on this issue – an unsolvable problem that is based in education. The main reason that I see, after hours and hours of research, is that there simply can’t be a middle ground, or compromise, due to some having such severe (deadly) reactions to even the smell of peanuts or slight residue of peanut oil. I wonder about these people and how they go to a grocery store. How do they buy food at all when it is a possibility that anyone and everyone (from the stocker to the cashier) could have touched nuts/ate nuts, etc, and could then touch a “nut free” item? Not to mention that it could get passed on through money, a door handle, etc. I would think those with severe allergies have a difficult way to go. That being said, I personally wonder about parents of children with those severe allergies and their choice to send them to public school and subject them to those dangers. At what point does that become child endangerment and against the law?? I am a firm believer of protecting children first and foremost, but even banning nuts in a school doesn’t seem to be enough to protect the severe allergy children. All that being said and many hours of research and discussion later, I still have no solution to a very difficult situation. I can only hope a “cure” comes soon.

July 22, 2008 at 12:03 pm
(50) Donna says:

Peanut butter is one thing my daughter can eat on a sandwich since milk is in many cold cuts including ham and bologna and she’s also allergic to eggs and soy…so I’m sure I’ll be sending her peanut butter sandwiches whether I have to sneak them into her lunch box or not. She’s deathly allergic to Milk but you’ll never see that banned from schools. She’s gone into anaphalaxis several times due to poor food labeling so I know she’ll never be buying school lunches.

July 22, 2008 at 12:45 pm
(51) Geana says:

My daughter is Deathly allergic to things every child has in every lunch room in america SOY (in ALL bread) and Milk which every child drinks. I can’t ask people to send lunches with no bread of course and kids need milk so it would be crazy for me to ask them to not sell it my daughter isn’t even crazy about having to drink rice milk. I think the only solution would be to have lunch room staff trained and ready with epi-pens. My daughter is 3 and already understands and knows how even the slightest amount of milk can stop her from breathing so I’ll definately do tons of practice runs with her test epi pen before she ever goes to school.

August 11, 2008 at 4:59 pm
(52) billy says:

Why not ban milk too? There are kids that are just as allergic to milk as peanuts and we still serve it at our schools? This is a ridiculous issue!! Stand up and take care of yourself, people!! You can die from anything you are allergic to including milk. So get over it and home-school if you are too lazy to teach your child appropriate life-saving measures!!!!

August 12, 2008 at 5:53 am
(53) Mike says:

Why do some folks think “banning risk” will do anyone any good? Why modify the behavior of 98% of the population because 2% have a personal nutrition and/or behavioral need? What will we ban next, sugar? Lots of folks are diabetic- lets remove products with sugar right? We cannot protect people and society by banning or regulating every nuance of risk in our lives. A little compromise and adjustment is a far better answer, especially in light of teaching our children about working with others in society.

August 12, 2008 at 8:50 am
(54) Michelle says:

Why should it every parent’s responsibility to make sure YOUR kid doesn’t have an allergic reaction? Why should I be forced to spend more time and money at the store, reading labels, and buying all natural stuff, just because YOUR kid is allergic? That is complete bs. It’s a huge inconvenience for me. Is my time not valuable? I’m busy enough as it is, and to be expected to spend 30-40 extra minutes scouring every label just so your kid doesn’t have a reaction, is not only ridiculous, it’s almost like the parents of these kids feel entitled. It’s not my job to keep your kid safe. It’s my job to keep MY kid safe. If your child is THAT allergic, then he shouldn’t leave the house. The world is not peanut free. Why do peanut allergy parents get a free pass? Why not parents of kids equally allergic to other things? If you’re gonna ban peanuts, it’s only fair to ban anything that any child is allergic to. Why single out peanut allergy kids? For those of you saying that peanut butter is unhealthy, that is simply untrue. Peanut butter is loaded with protein, vitamins and minerals. While it may have fat and sugar in it, they don’t negate the benefits. The body needs a certain amount of fat in order to function properly. There’s a reason that nutritionists refer to the peanut as a super food.

http://www.femhealth.com/BenefitsofPeanuts.html

http://www.cnn.com/2007/HEALTH/diet.fitness/11/06/cl.healthful.foods/index.html

http://peanut-butter.org/peanut-butter/Health+Benefits+of+Peanut+Butter

August 15, 2008 at 1:40 am
(55) Jimmy says:

I live in the South. Peanuts have always been a part of my life, although I do not really like peanut butter. Many great times have been had with peanuts in my life.

Both of my kids have peanut allergies. One has a fatal reaction while the other one’s reaction is far less severe. Both of my children are very educated about their allergies and are constantly monitoring their surroundings for potential issues. They are 4 years apart in age and the one with non fatal nut allergies went to our local public school first.

With this one, we educated the administration, nursing staff, teachers and even the classmates. Within a week, a classmate had eaten a peanut product during lunch and touched my child’s arm at recess, an hour later, causing a reaction. According to some here, this is my child’s fault for not know what everyone around him had for lunch.

Incidentally, a man was shot across town the same day and the jury found that the shooting victim was at fault for allowing a bullet to hit him.

This past school year, a teacher in my child’s school decided to take peanut butter crackers as a snack on a field trip. We had the same meetings with all grade level teachers, administration, nursing staff, etc. that we have had every year. When the teacher was asked why, his comment was that it was too hard to find a snack without peanuts in it even though we include a list of peanut free snacks as part of the informational packet that we give the school every year.

We have been working with our school for the last two years to find an appropriate solution for a child with fatal allergies to be integrated into the public school system. Education can only do so much. Cultural changes have to take place within the school to facilitate a safe environment.

Yesterday, a pedestrian was hit by a car and killed. The investigation concluded that the pedestrian should have known that the driver of the vehicle was going to be drunk and at that location and that they could have avoided being killed if they just did not go to that spot at that time. No charges were filed.

We all can die anywhere, anytime and in many different ways. What is wrong with having an environment that is as safe as it can be for our children to be educated in?

August 27, 2008 at 11:06 pm
(56) Doug says:

If my child could die by being touched by another child who had eaten peanut butter…..My child would be at home until I was certain they could realize what was happening and react accordingly. I would not send my child to a ‘peanut free’ school if they could die by being touched by peanut butter hands unless they were responsible enough to take care of themselves. I would not put my child’s life in “Little Johnny’s” parents hands. What do you do when “Little Johnny” has peanut butter toast for breakfast and goes to school w/o washing his hands?? New rule: Everyone washes hands upon entering school.

My child has ‘low muscle tone’ and is not very steady. If she is even slightly bumped, she will fall. I don’t want her to feel out of place on the playground, but she doesn’t climb up high because she knows her situation, therefore, ban all from climbing high so my daughter doesn’t feel bad.

September 5, 2008 at 9:08 am
(57) D says:

Have you ever seen a toddler in anaphylactic shock? 15 min after my son ate a cracker that came in contact with the knife that my daughters peanut butter sandwich was made with he was in the ER. His face was so swollen that I could hardly recognize him. I held him down on the table while they poked him all over his body to start an IV. They were trying to put a tube down his throat but it was so swollen and he was so small. You say don’t believe that allergies can be so severe or deadly. Well, I guess you haven’t been there.

September 23, 2008 at 9:52 pm
(58) lisa says:

my kindergartner was so happy to start school, is now to afraid to even go to school & is having a total panic attack & breakdown because the teacher scolded him over having a pb&J sandwich the first day of school! Telling him that some kid could die from it.

I am livid at the school terrorizing my poor 5 year old, when im sure the 4th grader could wear gloves & the kid never even comes close to my child.

December 28, 2008 at 9:00 pm
(59) Traci says:

Peanut bans are not the answer to the peanut allergy problem. There are many things to consider. The peanut is not the only food that can cause life threatening allergies. Milk, eggs, nuts (peanuts are not technically a nut, they are a legume) soy, wheat, fish and shellfish can all cause life threatening allergies. It would not be reasonable to ban all of these foods, right? Or is that where this whole banning food thing is heading? Also, food anaphylaxis can only occur if the food is ingested. The idea that a child can breathe in peanut “fumes” and die from it is a myth. Yes, they can have a reaction, but there is not evidence a life threatening reaction would occur. The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network does not support bans. Bans can create a false sense of security and lead to less vigilance. They encourage awareness, education, preparedness, and training. What I have discovered in my research is that most people are afraid because they don’t know anything about food allergies. They only know that they can possibly be deadly. I have been astonished now little parents of food allergic children really know about there children’s health. Instead of educating and empowering themselves and their children they try to put the responsibility of their child’s health on everyone else.
I would be very curious to know if the occurrence of peanut allergy anaphylaxis has decreased since schools and daycares have started banning nuts. What expert authority are schools and daycares turning to when they make a decision to ban? The answer is, they are not. These are people with no expertise on the subject making these decisions.
I found a great book about peanut allergies. It is called “The Peanut Allergy Answer Book”. This book is written by an expert and is endorsed by other experts on this subject. I recommend this book for anyone who has a child with a peanut allergy or anyone grappling with a peanut ban in your school or child care center. They specifically address peanut bans in this book. I guess what I would stress most is… Do your research and if you do not believe a peanut ban is right for your school or daycare, fight for what you believe in. If you don’t we will see more and more bans.

January 3, 2009 at 6:29 am
(60) anon says:

In our school, two grades are peanut butter free.I completely support this.One of my sons had allergies that fortunately he grew out of before getting to school.
The importance here is the matter of degree.
A child with a severe life threatening reaction to a food needs to be protected.Stopping a child from being poisoned is not “pampering”!!!
And if you don’t care about anyone but your own kids, then self interest says that if your kid has to watch another child keel over and gasp for air, it is probably going to traumatize your child too.
A child with a milder allergy may be able to tolerate someone else in the room eating a substance.My own son just got diarrhoea and stomach cramps after eating the food ( which was an interesting consequence for the preschool teacher who refused to allow us to bring in safe snacks, saying the school would provide them; and then explained to us that our 3 year old child seemed “ill” after feeding him bread and butter ( he was allergic to small amounts of egg in bread, and to all dairy products) apparrently it was only after she saw the diarrhoea drippping down his leg that she “got it.”
I do understand how hard it is to feed a picky eater/child with sensory issues,( have one of those too) but if you are worried about providing cheap protien, a peanut butter sandwich after school is always an option.And when you can,it does not hurt to try and expand the items they are eating anyway.( Though I realize this is so much easier said than done!)
It is actually possible that a child fed mainly on peanut butter may eventually develop an allergy from over exposure to it anyway, so you may end up being on the other side of the fence later on…

January 15, 2009 at 7:23 pm
(61) Traci says:

I would like to know who gets to decide what is banned and what is not. There are 8 foods that cause 90% of anaphylaxis, milk, eggs wheat, soy, shellfish, fish, and peanuts. Why are these other foods not banned? Because it would be unreasonable to ban them, that’s why. The peanut is no different in this regard.

Let’s talk about risk for a moment. FAAN reports that about 150 people a year die from all food related anaphylaxis. That number is an extrapolated number from a single study called the Olmstead County Study, and it is probably a little high. The CDC reports about 12 deaths a year from all food related anaphylaxis. There are 3.3 million people that have peanut allergies in the US. If you take the number of people that die from all types of food allergies and put that against the number of people that have peanut allergies it breaks down to less than 1/2 of one-hundredth of one percent. (.045%) A person with a peanut allergy is far more likely to get killed going to work or school than die from their allergy. Do we prohibit the use of cars? They certainly pose a much greater risk of death.

Also, on the subject of daycares. I have found only one child that has died in a childcare setting from an allergic reaction. That child died from a milk allergy, not peanuts. She was 3.

Just my 2 cents….

January 28, 2009 at 5:20 am
(62) Leslie says:

Finally, somebody who has a sane approach and understands and cares. Reading so many blogs on the internet wherein people declare that if peanut-allergic children are so sensitive, that they SHOULD die, that they don’t deserve to live, has got me terrified for my life and my daughter’s life. I’m honestly terrified of this very vocal percentage of the population who would rather have me or my daughter die than have to experience the inconvenience of going without peanut butter. Why are people so cruel and selfish? If they read the handout the allergist gave me, maybe they’d think twice and take this seriously. Or maybe they really do want us dead, since we’re so inconvenient. I guess other disabled people, the weak and the helpless will be next. Sometimes I feel like they are espousing Nazi eugenics–just weed out the weak, only the strong survive. So heartless.

January 29, 2009 at 4:45 pm
(63) Cristy says:

COME ON. Let’s just ban the peanuts and peanut products in the schools. Make it a law, a rule. Educate the entire student body and teachers too. Athough I do agree with rdavis about if you ban peanuts you should ban other known (common) allergens. I also agree with rdavis about bringing up the list of other banned items at school, like toys that look like weapons, aspirin and belly shirts. These are a no brainer to people with at least half a brain. Kids need limitations in school and at home, and they need rules to make everyone safer. But, why not just ban the peanuts? Let the other kids without peanut allergies eat their peanut butter at home. I think airplanes should ban them too. Or have all of them already? I mean I have seen what an anaphalaxis does to a young girls’ brain (22 y/o just married, beautiful) bit into a chocolate, not knowing it had peanuts,lay on the floor for more than 3-5 minutes. Resucitated, now a vegetable. No talk, no walk, no nothing. Round the clock care,her life is over. Her parent’s and families lives forever changed and you can imagine what they have had to go through. Just get rid of the peanuts, ok? big deal? YES to many with kids who have peanut allergies. Not such a big deal to go without peanut products for the time the other kids are in school. You can eat it when you get home.
Cristy

September 6, 2009 at 4:15 pm
(64) Josie says:

FYI, there are suitable and cost effective substitutes out there. At natural food markets such as Whole Foods, but also at regular grocery stores. Sunbutter is a wonderful subtitute. It’s like peanute butter, but madewith sunflower seeds. Other substitutes are almond butter, soynut butter, and cashew butter (my personal favorite).

September 12, 2009 at 7:51 pm
(65) Mike says:

I like seeing the properly articulated posts in opposition to peanut bans.
Their reasoning is particularly correct when applied to the suggestion of banning all products that may contain traces of peanuts (and possibly extending this to anything not pre-packaged).
I am amazed that parents feel they have the right to burden the rest of the school with all the extra costs and label-reading just so they can avoid homeschooling their children.
It is nice when members of the majority restrict themselves for the minority, but that is quite different from demanding coerced bending.
For the most extreme cases (nuts or for other foods), I favor taxpayer assistance with homeschooling (the number who would need this seems to be small enough as for the burden per capita to be small).

January 1, 2010 at 2:57 pm
(66) Liz says:

As a child with Peanut & Egg Allergies, I can completely appreciate how parents of non-allergic children feel about a peanut-ban in schools. I am very blessed in that our school does not serve anything with peanuts in their hot lunches, so right there I feel my 1st grader is protected. I know that the school does this to assure a safer environment, because they would not want the liability that comes with it. To keep a child safe, with or without allergies, is the responsibility of the school. How they do that, is up to the school. Just as they reassure you that your child will have a safe environment, they owe that to ALL children whether they have allergies, cancer, diabetes, etc. It is a Law, under the ADA Act 504.

January 31, 2010 at 3:07 am
(67) richelle santos says:

i discover that there is another source of making butter aside for peanut. they have the same nutrition fact but different if we taking about their price in the market. this seed can be alternative source of butter. but, as up now i’m doing some write-up and more research.

August 16, 2010 at 5:42 pm
(68) Traci says:

Mauro’s argument is illogical. Since schools ban “belly-baring shirts, backless shoes, shirts with offensive slogans, jewelry in gym class, head lice, weapons, toys that look like weapons, cigarettes, drugs and alcohol, aspirin, forums and chat rooms on school computers,skirts shorter than the extended fingertips and beepers” then we should all be fine with them banning anything they choose to ban, right? WRONG. First of all, it can be argued (not in all cases, in my opinion) that the aforementioned bans are necessary because the banned items can be considered detrimental to ALL students. The operative word is ALL. Peanut products are only dangerous to a TINY minority. Make a safe peanut-free zone for the allergy sufferers and LET THE MAJORITY HAVE THE FREEDOM TO EAT THEIR NUTRITIOUS, INEXPENSIVE STAPLE OF PEANUT BUTTER!!!! There is no reasoning with people who make all their decisions based on emotion apart from facts. Ugh…

September 14, 2010 at 6:43 pm
(69) Christine says:

Where does it end? I don’t appreciate the responsibilty being placed on me and my child that we’re going to kill somebody with a peanut butter sandwich. If a child is that allergic and the mere essence of a peanut is going to kill them then that child should be in a controlled environment in which they can be assured of no contamination. Why should everyone else refrain? My kid doesn’t like lunchmeats and basically only eats peanut butter and jelly. Some children can not be exposed to sunlight, do we blot out the sun for everyone? No, that child must remain in a controlled environment. It’s ridiculous to try and make a child feel guilty or responsible for another childs sickness or allergy. A ban on an above the knee skirt is not the same thing as a ban on peanut butter. It’s not so much the peanut butter but the catering to a handful of children who have this allergy. If there were that many than those parents could pay for a peanut/free nut charter school. Don’t make it my responsibilty. I have enough to worry about. If the child is at risk of death then it’s that parents responsibility to make sure that they have absolute control over that childs environment and the only way to do that is to keep them home and school them.

September 14, 2010 at 7:19 pm
(70) Christine says:

More and more we are losing our freedoms to accomodate minority groups who oppose certain things. Imagine this picture, Sam’s school has a peanut butter room for children with peanut allergies. Sam is hungry on the way to school and eats his peanut butter and jelly sandwich, goes in to class and sits at his desk and the teacher asks him to pass back a paper. He’s not aware that he has peanut butter on his finger and Lil Johnny behind him unknowingly touches the peanut butter and dies. Should lil Sam be responsible for killing Johnny? Should the teacher be responsible for having pass the paper? Should the school be responsible for not having a peanut butter detector at the entrance? Or should Johnny’s parents be responsible for putting him in a public environment where there’s just no way to control the peanut essence that is deadly to their child? Or, is it an unfortunate deadly disease like AIDS or Cancer where it’s merely a matter of time before that child were to die from it because it was simply impossible to control every situation and environment that the child was subject to? I would be furious if my child were to have to live with the knowlege that he caused someone to die from eating his peanut butter sandwich. Imagine him going through his life that he killed little Johnny? Whether it’s peanut butter, bees or whatever it is, the person with the allergy is truly unfortunate but it is their responsibility or their parents responsibility to ensure their safety to the best of their ability. What good would a peanut butter table or room do in this scenario? I say, the child with the peanut allergy should not have been put in an environnment where this could have happened. He should be home schooled, have a home tutor and be in a controlled environment if the allergy is this severe but should not be out in a public environment where he could be exposed to something that will kill him. You can expect everyone else to carry the burden of his allergy. It scares me when people talk of banning things and that it’s no big deal to ban a little peanut butter. Where does it end? It’s a sad state of affairs but there is just no way to accomodate everyone and their eccentricities.

September 29, 2010 at 11:00 pm
(71) sylrayj says:

I just wanted to say that my son’s school bans peanuts and tree nuts, but also has a ban on eggs and foods that are made predominantly from eggs, such as mayonnaise and angel food cake – I suspect other cakes too because many use quite a few eggs.

Can’t say how proud I am of the school for being protective of its community like this! Yes, it is hard to come up with an affordable sandwich sometimes, and I suspect the staff would print up a quick list of ideas if anyone asked for one because they are just fabulous that way.

The school also has acknowledged that it is up to the students to ensure that they are safe, and each staff member is trained to recognize and deal with anaphylaxis just to be safe – but it’s better to keep the potentially life threatening substance out of the way than to jab someone with a fresh Epi-pen as often as is required for the ambulance to get the student into the hospital. There’s nothing quite like listening to a friend tell me of her wee 7 yr old coming in contact with something brought to their house by mistake, getting epinephrine, the call to the ambulance, needing another jab because of traffic delays, and a third jab in the ambulance on the way to the hospital.

January 5, 2011 at 12:03 pm
(72) roseanna castro says:

Iam fed up with all the senseless school restrictions! Now in this economy the cheapest lunch i can provide my child is a peanut butter & jelly sandwich, which they tell me i cant send! because of “other” kids allergies! trust me Jelly only sandwiches is not a suitable lunch and we have been turned down for free lunch at the school cause my husband has a good job, but trying to keep our house payment current depletes us to the point that we watch every dime, so $2.25 a day for each child is way too much, i give them a PB&J sandwich, apple, pretzles, with a waterbottle and powderd milk to mix at lunch for alott less money. it helps us make due, my kids love it, and now the school sayd I CANT! rediculous! they should just seperate the sick allergy ridden kids to a seperate location for lunch to keep them safe!! or the school should help us in giving us the free lunch! i cant afford ham! or bologna, and the mayo, cheese to make different sandwiches cause of the other kids who’s parents can afford them or who are so special that they do get the free lunch. i have to do what i can to feed my kids a good healthy lunch that we can afford! how can i get this out there and heard since i know in this economy there must be other parents who feel the same way!

January 7, 2011 at 8:56 pm
(73) sylrayj says:

There are several comments that people with peanut allergies should just be homeschooled. It reminds me of the discussions about whether adults who have disabilities should be allowed to have jobs and be productive human beings. Keep those with allergies out of the school system, keep them home through the teen years, keep them home as they become adults, because why should the workplace not have peanut butter in it whenever anyone wishes?

I have asthma and am triggered by cigarette smoke – I suppose I should just stay home as well so people can smoke in the workplace and as they go about their day. I’ll be able to homeschool my kids, but I cannot get groceries, or buy clothes or dishes or furniture or school supplies because even delivery people should be allowed to smoke wherever they wish. It is hard to not be angry when any smoker has the legal right to put into my environment, even right outside my window, something that makes breathing difficult, and they can do it almost any time they like.

Do I have a right to stay alive? It sounds like it is less important than your right to eat what you wish whenever and wherever you wish. I hope that you and those you love don’t have any allergies or disabilities.

March 24, 2011 at 5:52 pm
(74) compassionate says:

You make an important point that school is a place where children are required by law to be. Life threatening food allergies are covered by the ADA, and schools must accomodate these children.

Also, a small child must rely on adults to keep him/her safe, because that small child (say K or 1st or 2nd grader) can not read a food label or administer his/her own Epipen (actually, anyone in a life threatening emergency may need another person to administer it).

It is difficult for these families. Please have compassion for them.

February 1, 2012 at 11:06 pm
(75) Shane says:

A lot of people are saying that banning peanuts would be a “Pandora’s box”. They are arguing that if you ban peanuts you would have to equally treat all other allergies, and soon everything that could possibly cause an allergic reaction be banned.
The problem is that peanut allergies are significantly more common than many other allergies combined. And most peanut allergies don’t simply cause a rash. They cause anaphylaxis, meaning the airways close and the victim suffocates.
Many of you know this already, and you know it’s deadly, but you argue that you can’t protect everybody all of the time.
But think about this the next time you pack peanut butter in your kids lunch. Your child is sitting at their lunch table enjoying their sandwich and the kid sitting across from them starts to DIE.
And don’t say this won’t happen, because it happened to me. My best friend growing up was deathly allergic to peanuts, and I was always careful. Until he accidentally ate a peanut butter flavored jelly bean in my house, he had to be rushed to the hospital and barely survived.
What I’m saying is that I almost watched my best friend die from a jelly bean and there was nothing I could do.
I’m not even in favor of the bans, but I don’t think the solution is “do nothing”. I think the solution is to focus on educating students and teachers about allergies, and most importantly training teachers to be able to administer an epipen if necessary. And I think the school should alert parents to simply be aware of the possibility. And those parents for whom it wouldn’t be a big deal could voluntarily cut back on the amount of peanut butter they send with their kids.
But it sickens me to see how self-absorbed some people have been. Shame on you! And as I said before, if you are only going to think about your own children, think about how scarred they would be knowing that them having a PB&J sandwich caused one of their friends to die.
I’m very sorry this was so long-winded.

January 4, 2013 at 12:08 pm
(76) Joe says:

The problem with bans is this, where does it end? People are allergic to a lot of different foods. They can be allergic to peanuts, eggs, strawberries, the list goes on and on. If we ban every food item from our schools that someone might have a reaction to, then how are the kids supposed to eat at all? The same on planes. Don’t you feel guilty as a parent when you get on a plane and 300 other people are happily munching away on their peanuts and you demand they all stop for the convenience of your kid? The world is supposed to come to a screeching halt for 300 other people because of one? I don’t think so. If your kid is in such terrible danger of death then maybe you should consider keeping them at home instead of expecting the rest of society to be inconvenienced by their presence every time you go out.

January 4, 2013 at 12:18 pm
(77) Joe says:

Oh, and here’s something else to think on. Mere casual contact with peanuts is not enough to cause a fatal reaction in most people with peanut allergies. Most people with peanut allergies who merely touch peanuts without consuming them get a skin irritation at worst and many suffer no ill effects at all. It is only when they are eaten by the person with the allergy that they cause a real problem. For the tiny fraction of a percent of the people who have a really bad reaction from merely touching or smelling peanuts it is not worth inconveniencing the rest of the world.

Another point to consider: fully 1/3 of all people claim to have a food allergy of some kind. The actual percentage of people found to actually have a food allergy? Less than 1%. What does that mean? What it means is that the vast majority of people who CLAIM to have a food allergy are actually paranoid hypochondriacs who just want to be a PITA for the rest of us.

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