Could nuts in schools be making a comeback?
A controversial new national strategy has been released to help schools prevent anaphylaxis.
The National Allergy Strategy report was released on Thursday, ands suggests removing the blanket food bans in place at schools and childcare centres.
Rather than imposing the bans, it is recommended that further education, awareness and understanding of food allergies and anaphylaxis are the key to prevention.
According to the report, up to one in 20 school-aged children in Australia have food allergies.
Anaphylaxis is a severe and potentially life-threatening allergic reaction, which can begin within minutes of a person being exposed to a product or item they are allergic to.
The most common food allergies in children include peanuts, milk, eggs, soy, wheat and some types of fish.
The report states that it is the school's responsibility to “communicate about anaphylaxis management with the school community to help raise awareness and provide information about current school policies”.
“It is NOT recommended that schools ‘ban’ food, and as such schools should not claim to be free of any allergen (eg, ‘nut-free’).
“An ‘allergy aware’ approach which focuses on implementing a range of appropriate risk minimisation strategies is recommended.”
Some risk minimisation measures include creating 'allergen-restricted zones', so that kids eating messy eggs meals, grated cheese or drinking milk are not sitting close to children with allergies to those products.
Despite these measures, the report also outlines the importance of those with allergies "not being isolated from others".
The report recommends that school peers learn what the symptoms of an allergic reaction are so they can alert staff, but also in an effort to reduce bullying of children over their food allergies.
National Allergy Strategy co-chair Maria Said told the ABC that bans in schools don't work.
“When people focus on a ban, it can’t be policed,” she said.
“This is improving care for children and teens at risk of anaphylaxis, but also increasing safety for staff and people working in schools and childcare,” she said.
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