The mission of the PTA is to make every child’s potential a reality by engaging and empowering families and communities to advocate for all children. As such, the Diamond ES PTA endeavors to make all of its events and activities as inclusive as possible and accessible for all students, including students with food allergies.
When planning and implementing PTA events and activities, committee chairs and volunteers should be aware of some common challenges that students with food allergies may face during such events and take steps to design events in a way that is responsive to these concerns and creates a safe, welcoming environment for all students.
- By law, food manufacturers only need to label if an item contains one of the top eight allergens. This means that if an item is processed in a plant that also processes an allergen, the manufacturer does NOT need to label for it.
- Unless an item explicitly states it is processed in an allergen-free facility, it does not mean it is allergen free (Example of allergen free statement: “Produced in a tree nut free and peanut free facility”).
- Unless the item contains a specific allergen-free facility label, the only way to ensure an item is allergen free is to confirm it by contacting the manufacturer.
- Parents of kids with allergies often prefer to independently confirm an item is safe. Therefore, it is important to communicate with parents exactly which brands you will provide for students. A picture of the product that includes the barcode is very helpful as many manufacturers often require this information in order to provide allergy information.
- It is important to provide product information several days in advance of the event to give parents enough time to research products (often, manufacturers need several days to gather product information).
- Children with allergies often have anxiety related to their allergies. It is important to provide students with the opportunity to eat the same food as their peers so they feel safe and included.