Schools follow careful process to prevent reactions

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At a Franklin elementary school, lunch workers prepare a separate lunch for one student because what’s on the menu for his classmates would make him sick.

The student has a severe allergy to dyes, which means the cafeteria manager at Northwood Elementary School has to make sure the meal they put together for him doesn’t contain coloring that could put him in the nurse’s office. He can’t eat the pizza that’s served to other kids, for example, so kitchen staff may whip up a mock pizza on pita bread with some tomato sauce and cheese that’s safe for him to eat, Franklin food services director Jill Overton said.

When students have allergies or need special diets, school food staff take extra precautions to make sure they’re protecting students from food that could be dangerous. That means making sure not to cross-contaminate foods during preparation; having alternatives, such as soy milk, on hand; and reading labels on new products to make sure ingredients haven’t changed.

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