Dealing with food allergies in school

Glenna Owens
Glenna Owens

By Paul Drewes - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Thousands of Hawaii students are heading back to the classroom this week, while the state has been busy doing its homework this summer. Making sure students are not only eating healthy but also eating safe.

Students of all ages to fill their brains with knowledge at school. But while there, they are also able to fill up with a nutritious meal.

Students are coming back to the same old classrooms on campus, but in the cafeteria the menu is new this year.

"You'll see more whole wheat in baked goods, we've also incorporated brown and white rice and 50 percent romaine in the salads mixes," said Glenna Owens, the Director of the State's School Food Service.

Getting students to eat healthier can be a challenge. But for many, meal time on campus makes a big difference in their lives.

"A lot of our kids, the lunch will be the only nutritious meal they'll have throughout the day," said Owens.

For some, they not only have to worry about if their food is nutritious, they're also concerned if it is safe.

Hawaii, like the rest of the country has seen an increase in students with food allergies.

"The two big ones are the peanut allergies and milk," added Owens.

Food allergies occur when a person's immune system identifies food as harmful and triggers antibodies to attack it. Those allergic reactions can lead to emergency room visits and in some cases death.

But cafeterias are now peanut free and some schools have also decided to become nut free campuses as well.

Extending school safety to what students eat as they quench their thirst for knowledge.

Schools are working to make sure meals are healthy and safe. But not all eating habits are accommodated, currently there is no funding for schools to provide vegetarian alternatives on campus.