I am continually astounded by how few people know what dairy products are. Dieticians and lunchroom managers are often not exceptions! If you have a child who needs to avoid all dairy products, then you will need to give a list of dairy products to anyone who might be preparing or offering food to your child.
I do not allow my son to eat school food because they have proven to me several times that they have no clue. This summer he went to a science camp held at his school and the Principal assured me that during this camp, with a smaller group of children, the lunchroom manager could accomodate my sons allergies. The school sent out letters to all those attending the camp that the camp would be PEANUT FREE. This was a very good thing. I was extremely grateful for that!
On the first day of the camp, I went in with my children and talked to the camp leadership about the food situation. I wanted to remind them and make sure they knew that my son is highly allergic to peanut and egg products as well as peanuts. The Principal was on hand and he assured me again that they would take care of things. I left feeling glad that my son would be able to eat with the other kids in a safe, peanut-free environment and that his other dietary restrictions would be accomodated.
I found out that I was wrong about the situation when I picked him up that afternoon. He told me that for breakfast he was handed some juice and a breakfast bar. I don't know for certain that this bar had any dairy or egg, but I do know that I have yet to find a breakfast bar that is readily available in stores that is nut, dairy and egg free. Thankfully, my son is cautious and did not try to eat the breakfast bar. He also informed me that at lunch he was given a white burger bun with one piece of ham in it, Sun Chips, and dried apricots. He didn't eat the apricots because, well - they're gross. He didn't eat the Sun Chips because usually they have some type of dairy in them. He was disappointed that he didn't get something more substantial than one piece of meat on a white bun. I was a little disappointed too, but I encouraged him to eat the fruit next time.
The next day's food was about the same and then on Wednesday he was given a bologna sandwich. In my experience, bologna usually contains milk ingredients and I never serve it at home. He did eat it without any noticeable ill effects so I can only assume that either it was safe or his reactions to dairy products are getting better. However, his allergist has recommended complete avoidance of dairy and egg until he is more physically mature - around age 15 or so.
At this point I don't trust the school nutrition staff to get it right. Here is a list of dairy products and dairy ingredients, if you don't know them already. You can get cards and guides from the food allergy network.
Yogurt, Sherbert, Gelatto usually contain dairy
Most margarines still contain some butter or milk
Most convenience foods will contain some egg or dairy - like batter-coated chicken nuggets, baked goods, hot dogs, lunch meat - and you should always read & re-read the label.
Most non-dairy creamers still contain some dairy - also Cool Whip
artificial butter flavor
butter fat, butter oil, buttermilk
casein and caseinates
lactose (and similar words)
Egg ingredients sometimes appear in unexpected places too.
Some candies and pastries are glazed with egg.
Pancake and cake mixes sometimes have some egg or milk ingredients already in them even if they call for adding more.
Mayonnaise is made from eggs - surprising that many people don't seem to know this.
Egg substitutes may contain some egg.
Egg noodles contain egg and sometimes other pastas do also. Always ask the kitchen or chef to check the pasta ingredients in a restaurant.
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