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New Peanut/Tree Nut Allergy Legislation


Whether your own child has a peanut allergy or not, it’s important to understand the cause, the symptoms and how to help.  Read about the responsibilities for managing food allergies in schools.  Children with peanut allergies can be affected through direct contact, cross-contact and inhalation. Depending on severity of the allergy, exposure can cause runny nose, itchy eyes, dry throat, rashes and hives, nausea, diarrhea, labored breathing, anaphylactic shock and possibly death. Read more online at WebMD.

An amendment to the “Health and Safety of Pupils” law concerning allergies takes effect in all Rhode Island school districts this year. It is intended to help keep kids with peanut and tree nut allergies safe from exposure. However this law will have a large impact on school cafeterias and classrooms. Regulations are still being developed to clarify the intent of the legislation.

Thrive, Rhode Island’s Coordinated School Health Program (CSHP) clarified the new law regarding the Peanut/Tree Nut Allergy Legislation as follows:

A new law passed in 2007 addresses the issue of peanut allergies in schools (see H5671 Sub A as amended). The law applies to all elementary and middle schools, but is recommended to apply to all high schools, as well. (Note: the law does not impact what food children bring in from home.)

If there is a student in your school(s) identified with a peanut or tree nut allergy, the district/school must do the following:

– Post a notice within the school in a conspicuous place at every point of entry and within the cafeteria providing notice that a student in the school has an allergy to peanuts/tree nuts see sample sign;
– Prohibit the sale of peanuts/tree nuts, peanut butter and other peanut-based products in the school cafeteria;
– Designate a peanut/tree nut free table in the cafeteria;
– Designate one classroom per grade to be peanut/tree nut free.

Since the law took effect upon passage, these actions must be taken immediately. If you have questions or concerns, please contact Jackie Ascrizzi, School Health Specialist, 222-8953, jackie.ascrizzi@ride.ri.gov.

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