Friday, December 08, 2006

Allergic Over-Reaction?

Here in Brandon, all of the schools enforce a "No Peanuts/Nuts" rule. This is so that children with nut allergies who attend the schools do not accidentally come into contact with nuts. I can totally understand why this has been put into affect, after all nut allergies can be severe and common, but at the same time I think it is weird that you can't send your kid to school with a PB&J sandwich. Peanut allergies must have only started in the last 20 years because I always took peanut butter to school for lunch and nobody ever even considered it to be dangerous.

Last year at the kids' school they also banned anything that contained raw egg protein because there was one student who was allergic. This is where I start to think they are going overboard. Why does the entire school lose out on mayo because one kid has an allergy. I know for a fact that Number One has a kid in her class that can't eat wheat. This kid has been going to the school for over three years now and I have yet to see the ban on wheat products come into affect. Why does one child get to be accommodated while another does not.

If there is only one kid that has the allergy I think it is ridiculous to force the entire school body to accommodate this allergy. In a case like that I think the one child with the allergy should be the one who needs to be responsible for what he/she eats. This is something the child will need to learn at some point anyway if they want to avoid having a reaction. Just what does the child learn from having everyone around them providing this protective barrier for them? Wouldn't this only encourage a kid to think that all food is safe. Since all the food at school is safe maybe this kid might start to assume that the food at a school friends house is safe (after all I'm assuming that the parent of the children don't have much confidence in their childs ability to avoid a potentially fatal allergic reation). I just think that, healthwise, anybody who has a severe allergy needs to be educated and responsible for what is and isn't safe for them to eat. Just like the kid in Number One's class with the wheat allergy has to do.

Anyway I think the whole idea of food bans based on allergies is ridiculous. That said I still follow and respect the rules and avoid sending peanut or nut foods to school and have been doing so for over three years now.

A couple of weeks ago, on a Saturday, I was fixing Number Two a PB&J sandwich when I had a revelation that made me smile. I suddenly realized that the peanut ban is totally ineffective!! You see they banned peanut butter but they didn't ban jam.

On the weekends my kids eat peanut butter and jam sandwiches. I can safely assume that there is a large number of school kids who do the same, hell, I still eat the odd one myself from time to time. When I make a PB&J I spread the peanut butter on one piece of bread and then put jam on the other piece. The laws of averages would say that it is likely that about half of those people who make PB&J sandwiches do the same. Do you see where I'm going with this? I haven't done any data gathering but I would be willing to bet that 50% of households will notice the same thing I did when I peered into my jam jar. As a result of putting the knife first into the peanut butter and then into the jam there is a shit load of peanut butter located in the jar of jam. From this I can safely state as a fact that there is almost always "traces of peanuts" in the jam sandwiches I send to school. And, you know what?? I bet I'm not the only one.

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