Schools across the country are banning foods because of their unhealthiness or their allergic reaction-causing potential, leading some to draw comparisons with the ‘banned book’ list of decades ago. Are ‘banned food’ lists arising from fear, or is there a real health reason to disallow certain foods in the school building?

In response to the obesity epidemic, among the forbidden items in school districts across the nation are birthday cakes, cupcakes, fruit snacks, potato chips, donuts, brownies, sodas, and candy. Do such restrictions take all the fun out of being a kid and go too far in restricting families’ freedom of choice, or are they necessary to keep kids from becoming overweight?

Other foods have been banned for containing allergens. The most commonly-banned allergens include peanuts and peanut butter sandwiches. Many schools publish lists of allowed and disallowed foods based on whether their ingredient list contains allergens. With food allergies on the rise among school-aged children, many consider such lists a necessary limitation to keep those with allergies safe. Others say that the lists go too far, and that the parents of those with allergies should be the ones responsible for ensuring that their child has an allergen-free lunch and avoids coming into contact with allergens that may be found in the school building. On the other hand, it is relatively easy to swap out snacks and lunches with allergen-free alternatives, such as using almond butter in place of peanut butter. If doing so keeps kids with allergies safe, why not?

What do you think? Is it the school’s place to tell parents what their kids can eat at school? Read more about the debate here: http://www.southcoasttoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20110811/LIFE/…

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