Allergies, intolerances and special diets

Information on what an allergy is, what food intolerance is, if a child's special diet can be catered for and are nuts and nut derivatives used as part of the school lunch.

What is an allergy?

The term allergy is used to describe a response, within the body, to a substance, which is not necessarily harmful in itself, but results in an immune response and a reaction that causes symptoms and disease in a predisposed person, which in turn can cause inconvenience, or a great deal of misery.

An allergy is everything from a runny nose, itchy eyes and palate to skin rash. It aggravates the sense of smell, sight, tastes and touch causing irritation, extreme disability and sometimes fatality. It occurs when the body’s immune system overreacts to normally harmless substances.

What is a food intolerance?

“Intolerance” happens when unpleasant symptoms occur after eating a substance which your body cannot handle because the digestive system does not produce sufficient quantities of a particular enzyme/chemical which is needed to break down the food and aid digestion.

The causes of symptoms need to be correctly diagnosed so that the management and treatment for allergy, sensitivity or intolerance can be appropriately taken.

Can my child’s special diet be catered for?

Yes. Please contact your child’s school in the first instance.

For the safety of your child, the school will request a copy of your child’s prescribed diet sheet, prior to your child commencing lunches. Please note only prescribed diet sheets issued by your child’s consultant, GP or state registered dietician can be accepted.

Cultural or religious diets can also be catered. Please contact your child’s school in the first instance to discuss.

Under the current nutritional standards schools are only able to provide nutritionally balanced meals; therefore schools are not permitted to cater for individual personal preferences.

Are nuts and nut derivatives used as a part of the school lunch?

Nuts and nut derivatives are not knowingly used as a part of a dish/product, but it is not possible to declare that all products used in school lunches are ‘nut free’ because the majority of suppliers and food manufacturers now place disclaimers upon their packaging to indicate their product, ‘may have unknowingly come into contact with nuts’

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