Alternatives to peanut butter – spreads made of soy, sunflower seeds, and other foods – have grown in popularity due to rising rates of peanut allergies. Parents of kids with peanut allergies have found that they can send their kids ‘peanut butter and jelly’ sandwiches without risking an allergic reaction. Such non-peanut spreads are also essential at schools that have banned peanut products because of the risk of allergic reactions.
Yet some schools say that even these types of imitation peanut butter are too risky to be allowed. One Canadian school district has said it doesn’t want peanut butter alternatives in its lunchrooms. The school district already banned peanut butter to protect students with nut allergies. Now, even peanut butter substitutes are not allowed in school lunches. Another school board declared imitation peanut butter “no more appropriate in our schools than regular peanut butter,” according to theJournal Pioneer, a Canadian newspaper.
The problem? Non-peanut butters are too easily confused with real peanut butter. Their color, texture, and taste are too close to the real thing. Superintendent Jane McMillan says “You can not distinguish Wow Butter [made with soy] from peanut butter by sight.” She suggests that companies making peanut-free substitutes should give it a distinguishing feature, such as a slightly different color.
What do you think?