According to the CDC, eight types of food account for over 90% of allergic reactions in affected individuals. These foods are, milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy, and wheat. A study done in 2007 showed that in approximately 3 million children under age 18 years (3.9%) were reported to have a food or digestive allergy in the previous 12 months. This was an increase of 18% from 1997 to 2007. From 2004 to 2006, there were approximately 9,500 hospital discharges per year with a diagnosis related to food allergy among children under age 18 years. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db10.pdf
After some discussion, I offered my help to increase awareness of allergies and other similar conditions in the community. At this point, our goal is to review all 600 pages of ingredients in the school lunch menu, and provide nutritional information as part of the school district’s website. This way, parents and students would have quick, easy to read information available to make informed decisions about what students are eating everyday. My hope is initially to reach those with food allergies, and also those with conditions like Celiac Disease and Diabetes. Perhaps then we can move on to the calorie counts and other nutritional information to help create change in what we offer children, as well as give parents the tools they need to make healthier decisions with their child’s lunch.