P.O. BOX 2120




December 20, 2002






Division Superintendents



Jo Lynne DeMary

Superintendent of Public Instruction



School Food Allergy Program Information and Recommendations


Item 138,Paragraph N., Chapter 899, 2002 Acts of Assembly (Appropriation Act) requires the Department of Education to develop recommendations for a school food allergy program.


This memo provides information, recommendations, and resources for school divisions to use when developing local policies for managing food allergies in schools.


Allergic reactions to food are among the most common medical emergencies that occur at school. When a reaction begins, it can quickly become life threatening. A report in the New England Journal of Medicine in August 1992 indicated that of the six deaths from food allergy that were investigated, four occurred in schools. There is no cure for food allergy.


Research has documented that the incidences of food, latex, and drug allergies appear to be increasing. The need to protect students from excessive risk and to help them manage their life-threatening allergies while in school will continue to grow. Consequently, school divisions are encouraged to establish local policies for caring for students with food allergies.


The following recommendations are provided for developing a school food allergy program for your school division:

1.                 adopt one of the following resources as your school food allergy program, or

2.                 use the resources to develop your individualized school food allergy program.


A resource list is provided below to assist school divisions in developing their school food allergy program:


1.              The School Food Allergy Program, The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN), 10400 Eaton Place, Suite 107, Fairfax, VA 22030-2208, Telephone Number 1-800-929-4040 FAX 703-691-2713, email address


The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network has developed a comprehensive manual for managing food allergies in school. The program provides information on food allergy basics for teachers, school nurses, principals, parents, and food service workers, as well as a model school program, information on legal issues, sample forms, a training video, and an EpiPen trainer.


Each school principal must submit a written request to the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network at the above address or website to obtain copies of this program.


2.              Spokane Public Schools Staff and Parent Guidelines for Students with Life Threatening Allergies (Washington State), provide information for parents, students, and school staff relative to 504-plans and enrollment procedures. Sample forms are provided for emergency action plans, medication requests, letters, and school food substitutions.


3. Managing Life Threatening Food Allergies in Schools, Massachusetts Department of Education, 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148, telephone number 781-338-3000. This document published in 2002 provides information for parents, students, and school staff, sample health care plans, sample 504 plans, and enrollment recommendations.

4. ANAPHYLAXIS: Preventing Life-Threatening Food Allergy Emergencies in Schools: A Resource for School Nurses and Administrators

5. Managing food anaphylaxis at school requires emergency plan.


6. A Principals Guide to Childrens Allergies, a publication of the National Association of Elementary School Principals, September 1999.


7. Formanek, R. Jr. (2001). Food Allergies: When Food Becomes the Enemy. Federal Food and Drug Administration.


8. United States Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Service, Accommodating Children with Special 2001.


Policies that involve the School Nutrition Programs must be in compliance with the federal regulations for accommodating children with special dietary needs, as discussed in Regulatory Superintendents memo number 8 dated October 11, 2002.


Please call Gwen Smith, school health specialist at (804) 786-8671 or mail: or Catherine Digilio-Grimes, director of school nutrition program at (804)225-2074 or mail: if you have questions when developing your policies for children with food allergies.