School warns parents not to pack certain fruits over allergy fears

Published: 18 February 2016

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Food allergies are becoming a classroom epidemic, and one Melbourne school has adopted a “proactive” home-packed lunch policy, telling some parents to leave watermelon, banana, and strawberries off the menu.

“We are a really large school and we have quite a number of students with varying allergies, some minor and some quite significant,” Point Cook P-9 College Principal Frank Vetere said.

Individualised lists are sent to families whose children share a classroom with a child with an allergy, outlining specific foods to “avoid” packing in lunches.

The items on the list to avoid include soy, nuts, seafood, as well as some fruit. 

While the foods aren’t banned, Mr Vetere wants parents to be aware that there are children who suffer bona fide allergies, and can have adverse reactions if certain foods are shared.

“It’s not just a parent or a child saying ‘we don’t like [watermelon],’ these are medically certified documents saying they are real allergies,” he said. 

While some parents thought banana and watermelon allergies were “unusual,” they thought it important to comply with the school’s allergy policy and avoid packing the foods. 

“I think it’s a bit unusual, especially because my kids love watermelon, but it’s part of anaphylactic problem so there’s nothing we can do,” one mother said.

“Obviously we don’t want to expose any children to any difficulties.”