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Readers Respond: Important Considerations For Banning Peanuts

Responses: 89


Updated August 21, 2009

The idea of banning peanuts from schools is not a new concept. Given that peanut allergy is common and possibly severe, and that accidental exposures to peanuts are common at school, parents of peanut-allergic children would be right to want to ban peanuts from schools. However, there are problems with such an idea. Share your thoughts, and read about others', about this controversial topic. Share Your Opinion


Nuts should not only be banned in schools but at all school functions.
—Guest judy

Keep allergens in one place

For those who want PBJ sandwiches in schools, fine. We have a special classroom for the risk-takers. There's a sink in the corner and the room is supervised so that no one is allowed to leave the classroom until they've washed their hands (including the supervisors). We work on the basis that it's unreasonable to expect a child to learn to wash their hands AFTER eating as many have not been brought up to wash their hands BEFORE eating - even after using the toilet just before. This way, the majority of our children can enjoy the run of the peanut-free environment - whether they have allergies, don't or do and are as-yet undiagnosed. As soon as the PBJs have finished eating and washed their hands then they are free to go back out to play with their friends. We had minor complaints from a few pro-PBJ parents but our Head explains that any risky behaviours (like having to inject yourself with insulin before/after eating) must be done away from the majority to minimise risk.
—Guest Disability Support Worker

Concerned Parent

My child is allergic to both peanuts and shellfish she knows to not eat both and takes great pains to make sure of this but what happened today at her school is very upsetting a child brought shellfish from home and took my daughters fork off her tray to open her lunch the fork come into contact with the shellfish then was replaced on her tray without my daughter knowing this when my child took a bite of her food her throat started closing up on her hospital said if anymore shellfish got into her she would have died. I have no problem with people eating peanuts or shellfish around her but accidents do happen is my child or anyone else's rights need to be taken away no but things do happen why should my child have to die to let yours live eating peanuts or shellfish?
—Guest Tracy B

food allergies

I have allergies to coconut and coconut oil. My throat swells shut and cant breath. There are many people with food allergies but those foods are not removed. Coconut oil is used in prepackaged food so a person has to learn to ask if coconut is present. Coconut is just as deadly to me as peanuts are to the next person. Compromise!!!! Dont punish 99% of the people because 1% has life threatening allergies. Parents are suppose to be concerned for their children but parents also need to teach the child that they are the first line of defense when it comes to knowing what u can and cant eat. My husband has issues with unprocessed shrimp. His eyes swell shut along with his throat. I have drilled into my daughter when she was only a few years old not to eat some foods that she may have the same problem. Day care had served a cake with coconut on and she refused to eat it. They were NOT happy and i received a phone call. I explained and then they had no problem and congratulated
—Guest Kathy mws


I don't agree with the ban, peanuts and peanut butter are one of the few things I can get my child to eat. You don't know my child or the reasons she's in therapy, but my child is just as important as yours. This is nothing new. Food allergies and been around a long long time. Here's a thought, what if the schools actually concentrated on teaching. Is it fair to realize that at some point a parent may actually consider home-schooling because of your fears and frustrations. Perhaps if you have this much worry You should home school. If I sound heartless, I apologize. But consider this allergy parents, the rest of us worry just like you. Death and sickness do not come allergies alone, Enough already.
—Guest Mom of Extreme picky eater

Peanut Allergy

I like peanuts and grow them. Nevertheless, I agree with banning them from schools and all public places unless a "Danger, Peanuts Present" sign is posted.
—Guest Thomas Hood

How about some compromise?

I am allergic to both peanuts and tree nuts but that doesn't mean I'm going to stop others from eating them. How about a special room in the school for children with allergies so that they may eat without risk of exposure to the allergen? I eat in such a room at lunch and I am allowed to bring any friends that I want provided that their lunches are nut free. I am a sophomore in public high school and have had a close relationship with all of my school nurses in case any contact with nuts does occur. Everyone I interact with knows about and respects my allergy. If they have had nuts, they keep their distance. Some of my friends love PB&J for lunch so I just don't eat with them.
—Guest Teen with a peanut/tree nut allergy

Keeping them in a bubble won't help them

My husband has a severe honey allergy. You know what he does? He just doesn't eat or touch honey. Kids who don't know that there are risks won't monitor their own safety. It's not the teacher's job to make sure that no one in a 40-odd student class has a peanut butter sandwich because a single student 3 grades up and one building over has a peanut allergy. The kid with the allergy should learn not to eat foods with peanuts and to ask if something has peanuts in it before eating it. A five year old can say "does this have peanuts? If I eat peanuts it can make me really sick" to the teacher or parent bringing in treats of some kind. If parents were proactive in teaching their children about their own bodies and allergies, then schools wouldn't have to make all these regulations. Do you think when your kid gets to college that their roommate will be so respectful as to completely avoid peanut products to spare your child?

Life and death

I agree with those that point out the effects of gluten, miilk, etc, are completely different, but also agree my child will be on their own and need to deal with it. Therefore I am not relying on the schools to eliminate the risk. On a similar topic, explain to me why airlines continue to serve nuts when pretzles are readily available.
—Guest Chris

On Nuts

I think this article makes sense. Have Americans Gone Nuts Over Nut Allergies? http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1869095,00.html
—Guest nida

My thoughts on banning

Do you ban sugar from school to save the diabetic children? No. They have to learn to adapt. It's not fair for them to sit in the class parties and watch the others eat candy. They know if they eat their blood sugar will rise and may have consequences. Kids with peanut allergies have to learn too. What will they do when they are exposed in the public? I understand wanting to protect your child but studies show severe reactions occur when an allergic person is exposed by directly by mouth. Less severe localized rash by skin contact and possibly itchy watery eyes by nasal exposure. The best way to avoid severe reaction is for the person to avoid the peanut themselves. My child has to count carbs. Watch sugar intake monitor blood sugar levels and inject insulin daily. She adjusts her life to the rest of the world. The world doesn't adjust to her. Maybe I'll suggest my school ban all sugar to protect my daughter from going into ketoacidosis from elevated blood sugars. No we adjust.
—Guest Jen

Stand up and be Heard

I my self have ran into a situation at my childrens school. Last year my daughter was made to sit by her self at lunch because she brought pb/j to eat, i was outraged. This waas all because of one student in a school of 1500 plus kids. Her teacher than began picking on her because I threw a fit (for good reason) I then had to put her in a different school. Now it starts all over again the 3rd day of school my sons pb/j was taken from him and told it had to be thrown away because of the one child with the allergy. I am done! I do have a cild allergic to any kind of sting from any kind of bug but I don't put him in a bubble everytime he leaves the house! If you have a severe allergy be considerate of others just like we try to be considerate of you but dont tell us we can't have it because you can't.
—Guest KW

Peanut Allergy IS LIFE AND DEATH

Never in a million years did I ever think I would have a child with a severe peanut allergy. I love peanuts/nuts of any kind. I was devastated when I learned (the hard way) that my baby girl (then 2, now 5) was severely allergic to peanuts. All you "bashers" against parents with these allergies should be ASHAMED of yourself. First, a peanut allergy does not even come close to the same category as a pet/flower/milk/egg/gluten/etc. type of allergy! Those are cared for easily by allergy shots or over-the-counter meds. Peanut allergies are life threatening. IF you ever were to see your child gasping for air, swollen from head to toe, you would freak out. A horrible, horrible, helpless feeling. Put yourself in our shoes. We are not over exaggerating folks. It's a very real/serious situation. Young people don't have any clue about this allergy--they don't know not to touch others with their sticky PB&J fingers. Imagine my worry. Consider if it were your child. What would you do?
—Guest Machelle


First, the facts..... 10 people per year die of a peanut allergy in the US. 10. One more time....... 10. Education is the best way to combat issues like this, not banning something from schools. There are a plethora of other more dangerous things out there and nobody's calling for a ban on them. Talk to your kids, talk to your school administrators, keep your kid away from nuts. Make sure the school and your children have epipens on hand. To suggest all peanut products be banned is ludicrous. Is someone going to go through everyone's bag lunches and pat them down for peanuts? Read every label on every packaged food for every kid in school to be sure things weren't produced in a factory that processes peanuts? Get real.
—Guest Skippy

It is your right to eat peanuts

You can take peanuts out of the schools, but not the world. If the schools have a concern about food allergies, then they need to build 2 cafeterias. Food allergies has been around forever, what is needed is more education. How better can the world children learn of food allergies then by living through them. Being around those who don't have your allergies is how you learn to identify. It would not be constitutional to force everyone not to eat peanuts. It is up to the school to implement a safety net, even making 2 cafeteria in not the answer, but 2 separate food lines . They can also implement a coding system that identifies allergies. It is the parent responsibility to have the child's allergies diagnosed, so that the school can take better care of their child. I find it appalling that these parent's are trying to pass the buck on society. peanuts are a healthy food choice, and should not be banned from schools, unless they are going to make it absolutely illegal for all.
—Guest Have food allergies, then live with it.

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Important Considerations For Banning Peanuts

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  6. Peanuts Banned From Schools -- Should Peanuts Be Banned From Schools

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