Food in schools

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Food in schools

Post by DMC » Wed Mar 19, 2014 8:13 am

I understand that Finnish schools are obliged to provide a lunch for all pupils, and this includes catering for any special dietary needs a child has. So for example if a child is diabetic or lactose intolerant or whatever, they get suitable food at lunchtime.
That's great, and I believe the system works very well, but what about other food at school? Does the school have an obligation to cater for these diets at other times? What about during cooking lessons? Does the school have to cover cooking dishes that the child can actually eat? Or would the child have to cook the same as the other pupils even if they could not eat what they cooked? What if the child had a severe allergy where just contact with certain ingredients could cause problems? Could such a child be excluded from those lessons, even though someone with severe dietary restrictions is arguably more in need of cooking skills than other children?

Food in schools


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Re: Food in schools

Post by rinso » Wed Mar 19, 2014 10:13 am

I think it depends on the allergy. The programs will keep the most common allergies in mind. But if a child has something rare he/she might have to cook things they cannot eat.
But I think in those rare cases there will be a protocol established between the school and the parents.

The real problem comes when somebody has multiple allergies. I once had to cook a meal for somebody with 23 forbidden ingredients. That was a real challenge.

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Re: Food in schools

Post by Cory » Wed Mar 19, 2014 12:14 pm

Kotitalous class menus are aimed to teach basic cooking skills and the students aren't obliged to eat what they cook. A special meal is provided at the school canteen only under a doctor's orders. So a child's parents, or the child themself, can not simply claim they have an allergy or intolerance. Special restriction based on religion also must be accompanied by a note from the parent but not sure if one also must come from their religious authority as well.

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Re: Food in schools

Post by Rosamunda » Wed Mar 19, 2014 1:45 pm

One of my children had a severe food allergy to cows' milk protein, he carried an Epipen on him at all times. But he was able to participate in Home Economics classes at school with the other kids. Those classes are held in 7th and 8th grade so by then the children are usually able to take some responsibility for what they can and can't eat. At least by making the food themselves they know exactly what's in it. Most of the menus are very basic: porridge, macaroni laatikko, kisseli etc so they don't involve a lot of the hypo-allergenic ingredients like nuts etc..
We never had any problems, in fact he took an optional cookery class in 9th grade as well. But it's always a good idea to discuss your individual case with the people in question.

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