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Sep 8, 2006 08:55 PM

Something so sad and silly

It was front page news in my local paper, The Herald Times, Bloomington, IN that our local school board has decided that parents should no longer bring in food to share on birthdays etc. that is homemade. The reasons given by the healthy foods coordinator of the Monroe county school stystem is that it is state law. Any food brought in to share must be store bought. That the school would never serve something homemade. Of course the obesity problem was raised and the guidelines suggest that parents concentrate on "healthy" snacks. So happy birthday, have a carrot. This does not mean that children cannot bring their own lunches. But lovingly prepared birthday cupakes from mom is now a no no. Mass produced foods with HFCs and partially hydrogenated fat is okay though! Really sad.

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  1. Yeah it really is. In Toronto, parents are encouraged to buy a book to donate to the class. We all know how much kids love getting books instead of cupcakes for birthdays!

    1 Reply
    1. re: beany

      We would always take store bought chocolte and hand one out to each of the children in our class.


    2. Our school did away with bringing in home made foods about 5 years ago when the regime came in. The new principal said that if anyone got sick...yada yada yada.

      At first, I was really angry, because there went bake sales, bringing in goodies for birthdays, etc. Then, it occurred to me that I had always assumed everyone cooked in as clean as a kitchen as mine...and well...what if they didn't? Yuck! Needless to say, it didn't take long to get over it. lol To be honest got to the point where we'd have to worry about too many kids having issues with too many foods.

      In some of my kids' classes, over the years, some of us old timer moms did get around it. We kept bakery boxes on hand (those big pink ones) and if we were on good terms with the teacher, well, sometimes we bent the 'rules' in our kids' classes. ;-)

      1. Silliness indeed.

        The biggest money maker at the school carnival was the cake walk. People made dozens of cakes and donated them. People would pick out all sorts of wonderful cakes if they won and go home with their prize.

        Yet, somehow, we managed to not decimate the population of Phoenix metro through tainted cakes.

        Honestly, has there really been a mass poisoning at a school via cupcakes?

        1 Reply
        1. re: Seth Chadwick


          This is just another in a long line of things that have been implemented to keep kids safe.
          My god, how did I ever survive being a kid. Can you imagine both me and my two sisters lived through our childhoods. What with tainted cupcakes, kids bringing PB&J sandwiches, playing dodge ball, monkey in the middle......

          LORD, IT'S A MIRACLE!!


        2. I have a friend whose son has a severe allergic reaction to any type of nuts. Unfortunately, he has to stay away from not only any type nut, but also from any types of foods that may have been processed in a facility that also processes nuts. His allergy is considered life threatening. This is very difficult for them as a family, and I know my friend has to carefully read all labels before buying anything. She told me that her son's school had to pass a rule prohibiting anyone from bringing in homemade snacks and such for parties, etc. This was done not only to prevent him from going into shock medically, but also to protect his feelings so he doesn't feel left out when everyone else is eating a cupcake while he can't.

          4 Replies
          1. re: sandrina

            That is a terrible shame. Severe nut allergies are fairly common and I think that in this day and age many of us know children who are affected. The idea that an entire school would forego treats based on the assumptio that this child can't handle one of life's little disappointments is precisely what has gone wrong in childrearing today. My son began preschool when he was three years old. At each party a peer of his simply explained that he didn't eat treats outside of his house because of his allergy. He was raised to understand this is something that a person takes in stride.

            If we continue to teach kids that they will fall apart if they loose a soccer game or become unhinged if they have to say 'no thank you' to birthday treats we are going to have an insurmountable problem on our hands.

            That said, from a health standpoint, lots of people buy birthday treats at their grocery store bakery. The fat, sugar and chemical content is astronomical and it trains children's palates to accept and expect the super-sweet. I would prefer that if homemade treats are not allowed, no treats are permitted.

            1. re: Kater

              I couldn't agree more. And when it's the kid with the allergy's turn to have a birthday, his mom can make something appropriate for him.

              Severe nut allergies are indeed terrifying, but I do wonder (and I really don't mean to offend anyone here) if occasionally parents over-react. For instance, I know a woman whose child had a very mild (splotching) reaction to peanuts. Her allergist (from a very prominent university) told her not to worry about it, that he would be fine. She, in turn, sought out an allergist who would credit their anxiety and she now has epi pens and whatnot. It seems unfair to saddle a kid with all the social challenges of having a severe allergy when a good doctor has said he's OK. What do others with more knowledge on this subject think? Are we sometimes paranoid about allergies?

              1. re: Procrastibaker

                Nut allergies seem to kill more people than any other (except, perhaps, bee stings). I think you must treat any sign of a nut allergy very seriously. That said, back in the day ('60's) I'd never heard of this. Why are these allergies so prevalent now?

                1. re: pikawicca

                  Allergies are an ideal playground for people and parents who tend to seek medical attention or use medical diagnoses to ease anxieties. People frequently self-diagnose allergies and if you pay careful attention you'll often find evidence that no allergy exists. Soy allergy is one of the funniest because 'sufferers' almost never have any idea which common products contain soy and will often be stuffing their faces with one of them while they tell you about their allergy!

                  Peanut and tree nut allergies can be severe and get considerable press. And some foods like shellfish and nuts are common allergy triggers, though no one ever seems to have the common non-life threatening version of these allergies.

                  Interestingly allergies tend to 'run in familes' though no genetic reason is in evidence. In my completely non-scientifiic opinion, that's because some families are 'into' allergies, seeking medical attention for every sniffle, demanding a diagnosis when there is no actual cause for a symptom, and fixating on children's basic safety needs rather than meeting them and moving on to higher order goals.

                  As far as the prevalence of these allergies, some of the problem is perception vs. reality. Only 8% of children in the US are affected by food allergies. Six foods, milk, eggs, peanuts, wheat, soy, and tree nuts, are responsible for the vast majority of those allergies. Among people affected by nut allergies only 3.33% have anaphylactic reactions (that the sufffocation/death without medical rescue one!).

                  So even if, in the absence of better data, we assume that a full 50% of the allergic population suffers from a peanut allergy rather than one of the other six, we're talking about 3.3% of 4% of children here!

                  I am NOT suggesting that as parents caring for others' children we should ever disregard these allergies real or supposed. But I do think that this is a particularly unfortunate fad.

          2. The world is completely upside-down in every way--just one more evidence.