Food allergies among children on the rise and safe snacking in school is more important than ever
Many of us either have food allergies, or at least know someone who has an allergy to food. The number of people who have food allergies is on the rise. According to a study released in 2013 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, food allergies increased approximately 50% between 1997 and 2011. Researchers estimate that up to 15 million Americans have food allergies. This potentially deadly disease affects 1 in every 13 children (under 18 years of age) in the U.S…That’s roughly two children in every classroom! At this time there is no cure for food allergies. Individuals with food allergies must stay away from foods in which they are allergic to in order to avoid a serious health issue.
There are many different types of food allergies; but the most common fall into a category called the “top 8.” This category consists of milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish. Many individuals try to avoid these common food allergens, knowing that even a small amount can cause an allergic reaction.
With more children developing food allergies, parents are teaching their children the importance of not sharing food with their friends at school during snack and lunch times. Many have also begun teaching children how to read food labels, so a child knows what is in the food when their parents are not around.
Growing up, I can remember bringing in snacks for the class to share for a birthday party or for a classroom celebration. We all remember trading our lunch snacks with our friends. As more and more children are developing food allergies the restrictions placed on school classrooms is becoming more evident. Parents and teachers must work together to ensure the safety of the children. All classroom snacks have to be pre-packaged and allergen free in schools.
While snacking during school is still a must, the rules surrounding it have changed. Food allergies among children are now the focus and finding safe and healthy ways for students to snack is crucial. Do you have a child with food allergies? What are some guidelines your children’s school has taken regarding food allergies?
Allergen free: gluten free, soy free, peanut/tree nut free, vegan, and OU Kosher certified
No added sugar, preservatives, or artificial coloring