Schools look to protect students with allergies while celebrating birthdays

Posted at 4:30 AM, Aug 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-22 06:48:44-04

CINCINNATI -- With nearly 500 students at Ann Weigel Elementary in White Oak, there are lots of birthday celebrations. But they have to be nut-free.

"It said, 'Made in a nut-free facility.' We really like those," school nurse Kristen Strunk said. "Those are allowed. But, any other baked goods, we unfortunately have to turn away."

Finding ways to protect children with nut and other food allergies is an evolving effort for schools. Each district is different when it comes to bringing treats to school to celebrate birthdays.

Princeton schools encourage healthy snacks or non-food treats for parties.

In Erlanger-Elsmere schools, there are birthday treat certificates starting this year which have to be ordered from the district's food service department. Students can use them in the cafeteria.

Kenton County schools require all treats to be labeled.

"Sometimes it's not just an ingredient," district Health Coordinator Paula Rust said. "It's cross-contamination in a processing plant and that will be identified in the label as well."

The efforts to bring in nut-free treats can actually be quite simple. Ice pops are acceptable.

"Even if it's just for a mere song or just passing out the treat, they're getting all the attention," Strunk said. "It's their special moment."