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Peanut-free guidelines reduce school lunch peanut contents


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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