Food Allergy Policy

Food Allergy Policy (including nut-free campus guidelines) [edit]

The Christian Academy in Japan is committed to providing an educational environment that is as safe as possible for all students and staff, including those with food allergies. Since food allergies can be life threatening, CAJ’s Food Allergy Policy focuses on primary prevention of allergic reactions by helping students avoid contact with offending allergens as much as possible. Students can avoid exposure to food allergens most effectively when the parents, student, and school work in partnership. For this reason, CAJ’s food allergy policy identifies the responsibilities of the parents, student, and school in preventing exposure to food allergens and on prompt and effective treatment procedures following accidental exposure to food allergens.

Individuals may be allergic to a wide variety of food substances (wheat, milk, eggs, shellfish, coconut) as well as non-food substances (bee stings, latex); however, reactions to peanuts and other nuts (pine-nuts, almonds, walnuts) are the most common causes of severe allergic reactions or anaphylaxis. Therefore, CAJ’s Food Allergy Policy focuses on reducing the risk of exposure to nut allergens by instituting a reasonably nut-free campus. In the context of CAJ, reasonably nut-free means that as standard practice:

  • Food prepared by school staff in the dining hall, home economics room, and senior concessions is made using nut-free ingredients.
  • All individuals who prepare food for sale at bake sales and student concessions are asked to avoiding using ingredients containing nuts and nut products.
  • Food from home including student lunches, snacks, and food to share should be made without ingredients containing nuts and nut products.

Reasonably nut-free does not mean that CAJ guarantees the absolute safety of all food for individuals with nut allergies because CAJ cannot be assured that all ingredients in food items are clearly labeled and identifiable by those preparing food nor that all community members and guests are in compliance. In addition, food prepared or sold at CAJ may contain food ingredients that have been produced in factories that process nuts. Within these parameters, CAJ is committed to doing everything that is reasonably possible to protect students and staff who have nut allergies from accidental exposure to allergens.

Parents of students with any known food allergies should discuss their child’s allergy with the school nurse before school begins or when new allergies develop during the school year so that appropriate interventions may be initiated.

Parent/Guardian's Responsibilities[edit]

  • Notify the school nurse of the student’s allergies.
  • Document the allergy on all relevant school documents such as the Health History form and yearly Student Emergency form.
  • Provide written medical documentation, instructions, and medications as prescribed by a physician. The school nurse will then formulate an Emergency Action Plan in coordination with the parents.
  • Provide a signed Exchange of Confidential Information form signed by the prescribing physician to the school nurse if requested.
  • Provide properly labeled medications (antihistamine and/or epinephrine) to the school nurse. Epinephrine is currently available by prescription in Japan.
  • Understand that information regarding food allergy will be shared with the student’s teacher(s), classmates and their parents, and other CAJ staff who will have frequent contact with the student.
  • Educate the student in the self-management of his/her food allergy:
    • Safe and unsafe foods.
    • Strategies for avoiding exposure of unsafe foods such as reading food labels, avoiding unlabeled food, and avoiding shared food.
    • His/her individual symptoms and progression of allergic reaction (mild reaction to anaphylaxis).
    • How and when to tell an adult they may be having an allergic reaction.
  • Review dining hall lunch menus and provide alternative meals and snacks when needed. Consult with the dining hall supervisor about menu ingredients as needed.
  • During community events and on bake sale days, remind students not to purchase food items since CAJ is unable to assure the safety of food items sold at those events for students with food allergies. Students with severe food allergies should not purchase food at student run concessions and great caution should be used in the dining hall.
  • Review procedures and policies after a reaction has occurred with school nurse in order to assess the efficacy of Emergency Action Plan and make revisions if needed.
  • If a student has food allergies or dietary needs that may not fit within our food allergy policy, parents may contact the school nurse to see if an individual variation is acceptable and manageable, subject to approval by the divisional principal.

Student Responsibilities[edit]

  • Should not trade food with others.
  • Should not consume foods with unknown ingredients or known to contain allergens.
  • Should not consume bake sale items since these foods may contain allergens and should use extreme caution and follow parental advice when purchasing food at concessions, community events, and bake sales.
  • Should be proactive in the care and management of their food allergies and reactions based on their developmental level.
  • Notify an adult immediately if they eat something they believe may contain the food to which they are allergic.
  • Carry prescribed emergency medications at all times.
  • Be aware of his or her personal Food Allergy Action Plan.
  • Report any instances of stigmatization to teacher, school nurse, or guidance counselor.

CAJ’S Responsibilities[edit]

  • As standard practice, the dining hall, home economics room, and senior concessions will avoid preparing, serving, and/or selling food (inclusive of manufactured food) that contains nuts or nut products. CAJ is unable to completely ensure that all food products on campus do not inadvertently contain nuts or nut products due to improper or incomplete labeling. Food products are used and sold at CAJ that may have been made in the same facility as nut products.
  • Ensure school designated volunteers, coaches, and substitute teachers are aware of school policy that prohibits them from providing snacks containing nuts or nut products to students.
  • Be prepared to handle a reaction and ensure that a properly trained staff member is available to administer medications during the school day.

Teacher Responsibilities[edit]

  • Exercise extreme caution when accepting snacks from parents to share among students. Prepared foods with readable labels provide the greatest safety.
  • For day and overnight class trips, consult with school nurse regarding student allergy precautions, obtain copy of Emergency Action Plan and emergency medication, and inform chaperones of student allergies. Whenever possible, assign students with allergies to a CAJ staff member or the student’s parent/guardian. Off campus trips for student groups without known nut related allergies are allowed to use nuts and nut products.
  • Ensure students with allergies are not stigmatized.
  • Report any actual or suspected student allergic reaction to the school nurse immediately.

School Nurse Responsibilities[edit]

  • Review health records submitted by parents and complete Emergency Action Plan.
  • Review Emergency Action Plan with student and/or parent.
  • Notify staff who interact with the student of the allergy, symptoms, treatment plan, and location of emergency medications.
  • Designate and train school personnel who are able to administer emergency medications during the school day.
  • Manage/treat students who are having an allergic reaction.

Other Information[edit]

HIGH RISK VENUES (community events and bake sales)
CAJ cannot assure the food allergy safety of food served or sold at bake sales or during community events. During public events such as sports games or music festivals, we cannot ensure that visitors do not bring nuts or nut products onto campus. To minimize the potential risk for an allergic reaction, parents and students are requested to abide by the following rules:

  • All individuals who prepare food for sale at bake sales and student concessions are asked to avoiding using ingredients containing nuts and nut products when preparing food for sale at these venues.
  • Parents/guardians of students with food allergies should discuss safe food options with their child before the event so that the child can avoid accidental ingestion of food with unknown or “unsafe” ingredients.
  • Students with nut allergies should not consume food items available at bake sales and should exercise extreme caution when consuming food items available at student-run concessions.