Peanut butter could be back in Australian schools after experts warn bans on risky foods won’t work

Peanut butter allowed back in schools as experts warn ‘blanket bans’ on risky playground food DO NOT work

  • National Allergy Strategy guidelines advise against food bans at school
  • Instead of high-risk food bans, guidelines suggest an ‘allergy-conscious’ approach
  • Risk minimization strategies such as education were recommended on Thursday
  • New rules are coming as the number of children with food allergies has risen to 1 in 20


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A school-wide ban on certain foods, such as peanut butter, could end after health experts warned that such strict rules don’t work.

The National Allergy Strategy guidelines, released Thursday, recommended an “allergy-conscious” approach rather than focusing on banning high-risk foods.

It is NOT recommended that schools ‘banish’ food and as such schools should not claim to be free of allergens, for example ‘nut free’, according to the new rules.

National Allergy Strategy guidelines released Thursday show that blanket bans in schools on foods containing allergens, such as peanut butter, are not working (pictured, stock image)

National Allergy Strategy guidelines released Thursday show that blanket bans in schools on foods containing allergens, such as peanut butter, are not working (pictured, stock image)

Instead, risk minimization strategies are encouraged, such as including allergen-free zones in cooking classes and educating children about food education.

The new rules come as anaphylaxis caused by food allergies has doubled between 2003 and 2013, despite the existing ban on high-risk foods in schools.

Over the past decade, the number of Australian school-age children with food allergies has now risen to one in 20.

dr. Preeti Joshi, a pediatric clinical immunology/allergy specialist and co-chair of the National Allergy Strategy, said the new guidelines were a more realistic approach.

“Trying to completely ban food allergens in these environments just doesn’t work and is nearly impossible to enforce,” she said.

“It is not safe or practical to rely on people not introducing food allergens, of which there are many, into a particular environment. A consistent allergy-aware approach with age-appropriate strategies is preferred.’

The new rules come as anaphylaxis caused by food allergies doubled between 2003 and 2013, despite the existing ban on high-risk foods in schools.

The new rules come as anaphylaxis caused by food allergies doubled between 2003 and 2013, despite the existing ban on high-risk foods in schools.

The new rules come as anaphylaxis caused by food allergies doubled between 2003 and 2013, despite the existing ban on high-risk foods in schools.

‘This includes ensuring that staff are adequately trained, especially in the rapid recognition and treatment of an allergic reaction, including anaphylaxis,’ added Dr Joshi.

Jennifer Ayoub agreed that education and guidelines for teachers to manage risk were a better outcome after her 11-year-old son Oscar had an anaphylactic reaction to milk.

“It’s not reasonable to expect a school to ban milk,” she said The Mecury.

“We really had to fight to get some basic things in order for Oscar.”

“For example, it took me three months to get the school to have the teacher bring his EpiPen with him when he went on field trips,” said Ms. Ayoub.

Food allergy expert and Higgins member, Dr. Katie Allen MP, said protecting children with anaphylaxis in Australian schools was a high priority.

“Australia is not taking a back seat when it comes to safety against anaphylaxis in schools and the education and care of children,” she said.

“These guidelines ensure that best practices are standardized in every state and territory. I welcome the work of the National Allergy Strategy to realize these guidelines’

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