WEDNESDAY, May 30, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- A substantial portion of parents whose children have food allergies have concerns over the safety of their child at school, according to a study published online May 12 in BMC Pediatrics.
S. Shahzad Mustafa, M.D., from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry in New York, and colleagues conducted an electronic survey of parents of children with food allergy to better understand their opinions on the effectiveness of current food allergy policies in schools and/or the need for additional policies.
The researchers found that of the 289 parent respondents, 27.4 percent were unsure or felt school was unsafe for their child with food allergy. The majority of parents felt that the polices at their child's school were helpful, but most also believed that implementation of additional polices was necessary, including availability of stock epinephrine (94.2 percent), lunch menus with allergen information (86 percent), ingredient labels on food items (81 percent), and direct food allergy education for students (86 percent). Depending on the age of the student body, private versus public school, and geographic location, there were significant differences in school food allergy policy.
"Thorough review of ingredients in all food and drink products prior to consumption is a core strategy for food allergen avoidance and prevention of severe allergic reactions. This is why implementation of ingredient labeling policies in school lunchrooms should be prioritized in order to protect students with food allergies," a coauthor said in a statement. "We need more research to identify the food allergy policies that are most effective in creating a safer space at school for students with food allergy."