The Allergy Bulletin: Information, Reminders, and Support
*****Greene Towne Montessori is a Peanut and Tree Nut Free School, including Coconut*****
Question: Coconut is a fruit, not a nut. Why is it included in the list?
Answer: Coconut is included because the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) places coconut in the nut classification. This is because there are documented cases of severe coconut reactions from tree nut allergy sufferers with an unknown coconut allergy. GTMS decided several years ago to err on the side of caution and exclude coconuts as well.
A Parent's Perspective on Allergies
by Karina Reuter
As parents, we all spend a lot of time worrying about our children. Before we had children we were clueless - we had no firsthand experience with severe food allergies.
After eating a nut for the first time, our son ended up in the hospital at age one. We did more testing and learned his allergy is severe and life threatening. For him, nuts are the equivalent of poison. In our homes, we keep cleaners and other toxic items away from kids to avoid harm. And we feel relieved to have GTMS be a nut and peanut free school. But out in the world, for the kids with food allergies, ‘poisons’ are readily available – in their friend’s lunchboxes, on the playground with sticky peanut butter fingers, handed out at Halloween, on airplanes as free snacks and pretty much everywhere you look. We have also learned that in many cases businesses don’t know what is in the food they are selling and people don’t know what is in the food they are serving. Too often we are told something was safe when it contained the very ingredients that he can’t eat.
We have to ask questions, a lot of questions, and even then, we need to still be very skeptical to keep him safe. If you invite our son to a party, we will RSVP with a message asking about the presence of peanut products and nuts. We do not ask for concessions, just information so we can be aware. If we ask again about ingredients, please don't take it personally, we are just doing our best to keep our son safe. We are very thankful when fellow parents really understand the severity of the risks we are trying to constantly navigate.