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Allergies or Medical Conditions
What are Special Dietary Needs?
If a parent or caregiver indicates that their student is disabled, then a Medical Statement Form with the “Participant is disabled” box marked, must be completed and signed by a licensed physician (M.D. or D.O.), physician assistant, nurse practitioner, or dentist. Students with a Medical Statement form indicating a disability that restricts their diet must receive reasonable meal accommodations. The Medical Statement Form must identify:
What the disability is
How it restricts the diet
Major life activity affected
Food(s) to be omitted
Food(s) to be substituted
School food service must follow instructions that have been prescribed by the licensed physician.
Food Allergy vs. Food Intolerance
A food allergy is an overreaction of the bodies’ immune system to a food protein that is typically harmless. This reaction can be mild to life threatening. A food allergy can result in anaphylaxis, which is characterized by lowered blood pressure, swelling, hives, unconsciousness, and even death. An allergy is a more serious reaction between a food protein and the bodies’ immune system. Food intolerance is an adverse reaction to foods not involving the immune system. Food intolerances may include food additives, sulfites, and lactose intolerance. The symptoms for food allergies and food intolerances involve the gastrointestinal tract, skin and the respiratory system. These symptoms are characterized by difficulty breathing, congestion, asthma, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramping, atopic dermatitis, swelling of face and itching.