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The food police have struck again, with fruit off the menu in school lunch boxes.

The Herald Sun reports some parents have been advised that certain fruit and vegetables should be kept out of their children’s lunch boxes.

Point Cook P-9 College has urged parents to avoid sending bananas, watermelon, soy, wheat, eggs, dairy, and nuts in lunches due to minor allergies and life-threatening anaphylaxis.

Principal Frank Vetere said they didn’t have explicit bans on any food, but had contacted families whose children had classmates with allergies.

“There seems to be a growing number of students with allergies, and we try to manage it the best we can with proactive measures,” he said.

“We have 20 students with allergies and they are all different.

“With every class that has a child with an allergy, we send out a letter to the families.”

Strawberries, grapes, spinach, chocolate, lollies, chips, jelly, dried noodles, fried foods and muesli bars are other items schools and kinders are ditching due to allergy and obesity fears.

Murdoch Childrens Research Institute Professor Katie Allen said there were rising rates of food allergies and intolerances around the world, and fruit was one of the rarer ones.

She said allergic reactions could only develop from eating the food, and banning items was not the wisest choice, except for young children in childcare centres or kinder.

“In schools it creates a false sense of security, and you can end up with lunch box Nazis,” she said.

“Instead we say not sharing food is the best public health message to send, for a range of reasons.”

The Education Department does not advocate bans at schools but a common sense approach to ensure students are safe.

Spokesman Simon Craig said advice was continually reviewed as research emerged.

“We have a rigorous set of policies and procedures in place to help our schools minimise the risk of anaphylaxis and food allergies and effectively manage any reactions, including individual health management plans for each child who identifies as having a serious allergy,” he said.

Last year, in my then Prep sons class, pineapple was off the menu as one of the children in the class suffered allergies. It did make it that little bit harder as my son loves his pineapple, but we are also a nut free school so you soon adapt to what foods you can and can’t send quite quickly. Banana and watermelon would be a real downer though. Certainly one of the popular lunch box treats in our house.

I think if it is an individual class and not a total school ban then it is a fair decision to make. Especially in the earlier years.

Share your comments below.

  • I agree that it is important to be cautious but I think they are going a bit over the top these days.

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  • THank oyu for the great read!

    Reply

  • Calling it the “food police” is a bit rough when we’re talking about keeping kids safe from potentially life threatening incidents.
    I think a bit of inconvenience for some parents is worth it to ensure all kids are safe. But the focus on not sharing food is also important to avoid that “false sense of security”

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  • It can be a hassle but think of the families who have a child with a severe and potentially lethal allergy. If it is that serious, I don’t think there’s a problem in banning things though I did not know you could have a severe allergy to things like spinach or grapes (but I wouldnt know). If it’s not a severe allergy, I think a more reasonable course of action is just educating parents and kids on healthy lunchboxes and not sharing potentially allergy causing items from their lunchbox.

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  • I think if it’s life threatening, yes definitely it shouldn’t be allowed, but for minor cases, maybe assess individually.

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  • What a load of garbage!

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  • That eliminates so many foods. The school and kinder here have a ban on nuts due to the teacher being allergic, and that already is enough. Bananas are a big favourite among the kinder kids. Would be a shame to not bring them, but if it was necessary she’d just bring apples. Hopefully not getting sick of them!

    Reply

  • I think it needs to be fair and relative to individual cases and classes. How can we go on about obesity and then ban fruit? Admittedly, I don’t have a child with food allergies, so I can only imagine how hard it must be for a family to deal with. However, I agree, that we need to teach children to be mindful and not to share their food. In the big world outside of school, food sharing and choices will need to be managed, so best to start it in school.

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  • I don’t see why these foods have to be banned. Just tell them not to share their lunches. It would be harder for little ones but not for the older children. Things are starting to get a bit ridiculous when you can’t give your child the food they love to eat at school

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  • It’s starting to get a bit ridiculous now!

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  • I honestly don’t know a lot about allergies but surely eradicating things from an environment isn’t the solution. I would have thought education is the key.

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  • This is a really tough one to comment on . On one hand I am outraged that the children can’t eat fruit at school and on the other hand I wouldn’t like one of my grand children coming home with an allergic reaction to what they had eaten at school.


    • Or if the allergic reaction is severe perhaps they wouldn’t get home at all.

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  • My daughters creche has a no nut policy. I think a no sharing policy is a great idea

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  • My step brother has two children with a variety of food allergies. He always sent them with food that was safe to eat and most differently inquired about what was being served at parties, so his children could either attend with warnings or not go.
    The problem was they got lost at a park when they wandered off, police found them and did not know about the food allergies. The children had been taught to consider all foods poison and only have bottled water if offered. When their parents arrived at the station they had to explain why the children thought all the food offered was poisoned. After being told it was a way for the children to make sure they did not have anything that could harm them. They were 3 and 5 at the time. So children can be taught not take food that they should not have.
    It is hard for parents and the school as they are responsible for the children while in their care.

    Reply

  • At the school from my kids is a “no-nut-policy” and a “no-sharing policy” but you should see how much is shared…scary just scary ! But luckily most of the time those who have the severe allergies will not join in with this behavior.

    Reply

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