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Peanut-free guidelines reduce school lunch peanut contents
  1. Devi K Banerjee1,
  2. Rhoda S Kagan2,
  3. Elizabeth Turnbull3,
  4. Lawrence Joseph4,
  5. Yvan St Pierre3,
  6. Claire Dufresne5,
  7. K Gray-Donald6,
  8. Ann E Clarke7
  1. 1
    Division of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Canada
  2. 2
    Division of Pediatric Allergy and Clinical Immunology, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Canada
  3. 3
    Division of Clinical Epidemiology, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Canada
  4. 4
    Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McGill University, Montreal, Canada
  5. 5
    Association Québécoise des Allergies Alimentaires, Longueuil, Canada
  6. 6
    School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition, McGill University, Ste Anne de Bellevue, Canada
  7. 7
    Divisions of Allergy and Clinical Immunology and Clinical Epidemiology, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Canada
  1. Dr Ann Clarke, 1650 Cedar Avenue, Room A6 163.2, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal General Hospital, Montreal, Québec, Canada H3G 1A4; ann.clarke{at}


Background: Some schools implement peanut-free guidelines (PFG) requesting omission of peanut from lunches. Our study assessed parental awareness of, and adherence to, PFG by comparing the percentage of lunches containing peanut between primary school classes with and without PFG in Montreal, Québec.

Methods: Parents, school principals and teachers were queried concerning the school’s PFG and children’s lunches were inspected by a dietician for peanut-containing foods.

Results: When lunch peanut contents were compared in randomly selected classrooms, peanut was found in 5/861 lunches in classes with PFG (0.6%, 95% CI 0.2% to 1.4%) and in 84/845 lunches in classes without PFG (9.9%, 95% CI 8.0% to 12.2%), a 9.4% (95% CI 7.3% to 11.4%) difference.

Conclusions: Our findings demonstrate that PFG are effective in reducing peanut in classrooms providing a basis for future research that should address whether or not the reduction in peanut achieved by restrictive lunch policies decreases the morbidity associated with peanut allergy in the school setting.

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  • Funding: The Canadian Institutes for Health Research and Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation provided funding for this study.

  • Competing interests: None.

  • Abbreviations:
    confidence interval
    peanut-free guideline(s)

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