Screeeech, that's the sound of my soap box. Excuse me while I step up.
The start of school means some interesting challenges for my children. They have been in classrooms where the list on the door of forbidden foods has been as long as my arm. No nuts, peanuts, kiwi, egg, dairy, fish, shellfish....
No shellfish? This one made me snicker a bit since the luxury of shellfish will never make it on my kid's lunch.
The forbidden food list highlights an alarming trend about the number of allergies that children today are facing. It seems that there are more triggers for severe allergic reactions and the classroom can be a dangerous place for children who risk an anaphylactic reaction.
I cannot imagine the worry parents have when they send their child to school with a life threatening allergy.
It has never been posted no wheat or gluten products. There's a very good reason for that omission. My family won't die in the presence of breadcrumbs. We don't expect others to refrain from eating products with gluten. And I am thankful my worries don't include severe reactions.
Schools have been proactive about reducing the risk to children with severe allergies by banning peanuts and nuts in schools altogether.
A box of President's Choice peanut free products was sent to our household recently. The glutenator, the one child who could eat gluten, was thrilled. Here was enough peanut free snack food for months of school lunches. The celiacs were not thrilled; but they understand that their restrictions do not expand to encompass everyone.
It's a valuable lesson.
We squirreled the snack food out of sight, because it's just cruel to dangle a mountain of goodies in front of people who can't eat it. And I broke out the apron to bake gluten free muffins and other treats.
Would I buy peanut free treats? Before our celiac diagnosis, the answer would have been no since I made peanut free goodies myself. Now, it's not so easy. I almost never cook with wheat anymore. The risk of cross contamination is too high and the frantic cleaning is not that appealing.
Now I buy more ready made wheat products for the glutenators because it reduces risk to my family.
What am I preaching on my soap box?
We have a responsibility toward children to reduce the risk of danger. We cannot eliminate it entirely and there is a point at which each person will have to be aware of the risk. But as adults - it is our responsibility to reduce risk, teach awareness and provide safe places for our children.
I cannot guarantee there is no cross contamination from peanuts in our home. I cannot eliminate the risk of someone with a life threatening allergy having a reaction in my home. But I can contribute to reducing risk by having peanut free snacks on my child's lunch.
I'll buy that.