Are we nuts about allergies?

Is it OK to ban everyone’s peanut butter sandwiches because one child has a nut allergy? That was the question one vexed mum asked The Sunday Times earlier this month. 200 parents at her child’s school were being asked to do just this. Was this fair or reasonable?

No, replied Chris Woodhead, the Sunday Times’s education columnist, it wasn’t reasonable at all. “The motives are good but, like you, I think the result is nonsensical. The rights of more than 200 children to eat the lunch their parents want them to eat should not be sacrificed because of the risk to one pupil” opined Chris.

Cue a deluge of angry letters, like the one from Jenny Savage, who as a child had to eat her lunch with childminders because of her peanut allergy. Ms Savage wrote to tell Chris she “went from being a pretty sociable little girl to feeling like an outcast — all because of the rights of others to bring in their peanut butter sandwiches”.
So Chris apologised – sparking another flood of letters the following week – all, this time, supporting his original view.

So who’s right?

Are schools right to tell parents they cannot provide their children with packed lunches that contain nuts in order to protect children who suffer from nut allergies?


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2 Responses to Are we nuts about allergies?

  1. J Sutherland says:

    My daughter has asthma and also a peanut allergy. If she was sat next to someone who was eating peanuts she would have a reaction. Last time this happened her breathing was constricted and she suffered a major asthma attack. She was admited to hospital where I had to sit and listen to her struggling to breathe until the early hours of the morning when she began to respond to the mediation she was being given. Is it fair to put the child, the parents and the teaching staff in a position where this could happen just because someone fancied eating peanut butter?

  2. Sian Griffiths says:

    Many thanks for your post. Put like that the answer has to be no…

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