Let me start off by saying that I am biased because I myself have a food allergy. I triggered my Celiac Disease about 3 years ago. It has been quite a journey with celiac disease. I have my ups and downs but at the end of the day I'm blessed for the road that I have taken. I eat healthier and actually became a vegan because I was used to cutting foods out of my diet. I don't eat meat, dairy, or gluten.
I have a couple of issues that I wanted to bring to the readers attention on food allergies and food intolerance.
Given that I have a food allergy, I know the struggle with eating out and being paranoid all the time. I cook/bake all my own food but there are times when I like to eat out. The problem with some of the people in our society, not all, is that they feel eliminating food from our diet is a trend. In some cases it is, but there are a lot of people who have allergies and are intolerant of certain foods. When these people have their orders taken taken by a waiter/waitress they sometimes aren't taken seriously. When a customer says they don't eat a certain food because of allergies or their intolerant they should not take it lightly. With this said, it's up to the customer to point out their health concern and for the workers to be educated on contamination.
I don't have kids yet but for those who do it's important to explain their children's food allergies or food intolerance's to teachers. Some may say that teachers already have enough to do than to be on the children's cases about what they're eating. I disagree with you and here's why.
There are children with allergies and food intolerance's that react differently if they consume it or merely come in contact with it. A child with a nut, egg, etc., allergy may have a tingling tongue or hives. A child that has a severe allergy may need an EpiPen and medical assistance. There are cases where children have died because of their food reactions.
A child's symptoms differ whether it's external or internal. For example, a child who's intolerant to gluten may not have their throat close up, but can have a stomach ache. This isn't just a regular stomach ache though. Someone who has been diagnosed with celiac disease knows that if you consume gluten, your body will attack itself (autoimmune disease) and kill off some of your micro villi that aids in absorbing nutrients. Not being able to absorb nutrients means your body is nutrient deficient which overtime can do damage your body. For any living thing nutrients are important; especially for a developing children. The time it takes for micro villi to grow back depends. Often times it takes a couple of weeks to a month, but for adults who have done damage their whole lives it might take years or may never even grow back/be repaired.
There was an instance where parents were complaining about having to sign a permission form for their child to eat a certain food in class as an experiment. I respect the teacher for sending out the notice. Sending out this permission form not only makes the parents aware of what the children are going to be offered, but it allows them to send their child to school with a substitute to that particular food that the class will be eating. Children don't like being left out of activities. It can do damage to them emotionally and psychologically. Children don't always know what's best for them so having a teacher monitor what your child consumes is a big weight off parent's shoulders. Parents can't always be there to tell their child not to trade foods at lunch or make them understand all the ingredients on labels.
Picture found: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3015520/Parents-middle-school-students-asked-permission-children-eat-Oreo-science-class.html