Tuesday, September 13, 2011

School Program Increases Allergens in Classrooms


School Program Increases Allergens in Classrooms
The St. Paul Public School District (SPPS) - one of the largest in Minnesota - recently began implementing "Breakfast To Go," a new program that provides free breakfasts to all students regardless of income. Under the new program, students will pick up breakfast food immediately upon entering the school building, and carry it in a bag to classrooms throughout the school building to eat during the first few minutes of class time.

According to SPPS, "Breakfast to Go" (or B2G) will reduce tardiness in schools, improve student health and enhance student achievement. The program is part of an effort by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to ensure that all children in public schools receive healthy breakfasts. Last Spring, Chicago Public Schools adopted a similar district-wide program amid much controversy.

Recently, AFAA raised concerns with SPPS regarding the potential spread of allergens throughout the school building and the threat they pose to children with food allergies. On Friday an AFAA delegation (consisting of parents, allergists, food scientist, safety inspector, and a MN Department of Health official) met with top St. Paul Public School district administrators. After a productive exchange, AFAA reiterated its commitment to helping SPPS find remedies to this and other issues in the program.

Parents whose children are affected by this program in St. Paul or in other Minnesota school districts are urged to contact AFAA(info@minnesotafoodallergy.org) and do a short survey.

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