Management of food allergies and intolerance
Having procedures and processes in place to manage issues related to any child affected by allergy or intolerance is a good idea. Use a team approach to work out a management plan and involve the child’s family, doctor and dietitian. Completely eliminating foods from the school or the ECE service should only be done when absolutely necessary.
A useful resource is Health Conditions in Education Settings: Supporting Children and Young People: A Guide for Early Childhood Education Services and Schools (Ministry of Education 2006). Find this resource on the Ministry of Education website by clicking here.
See also www.allergy.org.nz for more information about specific allergies.
Food intolerance is not the same as an allergy and does not involve the allergic response of the immune system. It may relate to the amount of the food eaten or its contents rather than to the food itself.
Food allergies exist in a small proportion of the population. Those children with specific allergies should be encouraged to bring their food from home. However, if there are children who are allergic to certain types of foods, canteen staff need to know which foods are likely to cause a reaction.
What is a food allergy?
Some people have allergic reactions when they eat certain foods. Their immune system responds to a substance in the food as if it is a foreign body. Responses can range from mild (for example, a rash) to life-threatening (anaphylactic shock).
The substances causing the adverse reactions are known as allergens. The best way to deal with a food allergy is to avoid foods containing the allergen.
Common foods causing allergic reactions include cow’s milk, nuts, wheat, eggs, seafood and soy products. It is not just these foods on their own – foods containing these ingredients can also cause a reaction.
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The Fuelled4life team.