Food Allergies & Dietary Needs
The Food & Nutrition Services department has a policy of providing modified menus for students who have physical or mental disabilities or special dietary needs and are unable to consume the regular lunch or breakfast menu items. This policy is in accordance with a federal mandate to include all students in the school nutrition programs (Child Nutrition and Food Distribution Division Management Bulletin No. 95-111 and No. 00-801). The Food & Nutrition Services Department should be informed of any student who is unable to consume the meals normally served at the school in which they are enrolled.
No individual food items will be banned from the School Breakfast, School Lunch or After School Snack Program menus. Program regulations provide for the substitution of food items based on child-specific medical guidance. The regulations do not provide for the banning of selected foods for all students. The district believes that banning foods would be counter-productive and not in the best interest of all students at a specific school site. A concerted effort will be made to meet the nutritional needs and/or disability limitations of each student. Accordingly the district has outlined the responsibilities for parents, school sites and Food & Nutrition Services as follows:
- Notify the school of any food allergy, disability, or special dietary need.
- Provide medical certification approved by a recognized medical authority (RMA) authorized to practice within the State of California.
- Update the medical certification on an annual basis.
- Participate in any meetings or discussions regarding the student’s meal plan.
- Notify the school of any changes relating to the food allergy or special dietary need.
School Site Responsibilities:
- Identify children requiring diet modifications. This will be accomplished primarily through registration materials and parental contact.
- The school Nurse or Health Services Assistant will be notified and begin the process for the implementation of an Individual Health Services Plan (IHSP).
- Request medical certification from parent or guardian. Utilize the Medical Statement to Request Special Meals and/or Accommodations Form.
- Send the medical certification to Food & Nutrition Services.
- Additional responsibilities may include educational awareness for staff and students related to field trips, classroom parties, allergy alert identification and intervention.
- Communicate plan requirements to all potential participants.
- Monitor and update the plan as needed.
Food & Nutrition Services Responsibilities:
- Provide food item substitutions for students based on medical need supported by a medical certification signed by a recognized medical authority. Menus will not be modified based on religious or personal preference.
- Provide training to cafeteria personnel on how to react to allergies and how to modify menus.
- Communicate with parents, staff and medical authorities regarding diet modifications.
- Maintain Special Diet information on each student and update annually.
OMSD recognizes the following health care providers as Recognized Medical Authorities:
- Medical Doctors (M.D.)
- Physicians Assistant (P.A.)
- Certified Nurse Practitioners (C.N.P.)
If a child with a disability requires only texture modification(s) to the regular meals, as opposed to a meal pattern modification, the medical statement should be specific in the guidance given for the modification ex: chopped, soft or puree. Some foods are inappropriate for texture modification.