This policy describes the accommodations for special dietary needs of children with food allergies, food intolerances, and food preferences in the meals and snacks provided by the CCSA Food Services Program.
• Food allergies are an immune-mediated reaction to food. The most common food allergens are milk, egg, wheat, peanut, tree nut, soy, fish, and shellfish. Food allergens must be strictly avoided. Even a minuscule amount of the food allergen can cause a life-threatening reaction (anaphylaxis) in a child. Strict procedures must prevent cross-contamination between foods.
• Children with celiac disease (gluten-sensitive enteropathy) have an autoimmune reaction to gluten, a protein that is found in all forms of wheat, as well as rye, barley, triticale, and sometimes oats. While celiac disease is not an allergy, these foods must be strictly avoided in the same manner as food allergens.
• Food intolerances are a reaction to food that does not involve the immune system. For example, children with lactose intolerance have trouble digesting lactose. Food intolerances may cause uncomfortable symptoms but are not life-threatening.
• Food preferences are food choices made by the child or the child’s family, usually for religious or health reasons. For example, a family may be vegetarian, or wish to avoid pork products.
CCSA will make every reasonable effort to accommodate food allergies, food intolerances, and food preferences. Equivalent or similar food substitutions and menu variety will be maintained whenever possible, subject to limitations of the special diets. However, CCSA reserves the right to deny any special requests based on food preferences, including, but not limited to Non-GMO (genetically modified organisms), All Organic, Kosher foods, etc.
In order to provide safe and acceptable foods for children with food allergies and other special dietary needs, CCSA adheres to specific procedures to prevent cross-contamination between foods. In addition to proper food preparation technique, these procedures include having trained food service workers prepare the food for children on a special diet separately from the rest of the food, regularly monitoring food ingredient labels and recipes for restricted foods, and packaging the “special diet” food in labeled, single-serve containers.