Food Allergies & Special Dietary Needs
The Nutrition Services Department wants to ensure the safest possible environment for all students. We have students with a wide variety of life-threatening allergies in our district. They range from peanuts, tree nuts, egg, dairy, soy, and shellfish to apples and kiwi. It is impossible to eliminate all food allergens from the school meal programs due to the number of food sources that come into the schools, the potential for hidden ingredients, and the possibility of contamination of food where it is packaged. Additionally, ingredients may be changed by the manufacturer without prior notice. However, together with the help of school nurses and teachers, we can create a plan to help meet your student’s special dietary needs.
Actions that we have taken include:
- Identifying the 8 most common food allergens, trying to limit their use within reasonable limits.
- Eliminating peanuts and tree nuts from our school meal program menus as they are the most common life-threatening allergen in the district.
- Posting allergy signs in Elementary schools at the beginning of the serving line and in front of the hot entrée station. The posted information indicates the top 8 allergens in each meal. Allergy and ingredient information for secondary schools can be found using the online menu tool, “My School Menus”, from the Bellevue School District website or mobile app.
- It is important your student reminds the cafeteria staff of their allergen(s) when they come through the line so the staff can help pick a meal option that does not include that allergen.
- Identifying all students with specific life-threatening food allergies in collaboration with Bellevue School Nurses.
- To help assist us in the process, it is important to notify the school and Nutrition Services if your student has a food allergy even if your student doesn’t access breakfast or lunch on a regular basis.
- Utilizing an online menu tool or digital menu “My School Menu” (MSM) so that parents and students can review and determine which of the top 8 allergens are present in menu items that are being served. Additionally, we voluntarily identify ‘Seeds’ (such as sesame, sunflower seeds) in the digital menu. MSM also helps parents and students manage specific diet-related conditions, such as diabetes. MSM lets you review carbohydrates counts per specific item on the menu, as well as calories and other nutrition information. The digital menus can be accessed online from the Nutrition Services’ Menus & Nutritional Information page
If your student is participating in our meal programs and would like to request a special dietary accommodation, please fill out A Request for Special Dietary Accommodations form (see below). If you have submitted a special dietary accommodation request in the past, please contact Nutrition Services.
A Request for Special Dietary Accommodations form must be completed in its entirety and signed by your student’s physician (or a licensed health care professional authorized to write medical prescriptions in Washington State). Please download the form by clicking the box below. The completed form must be turned in and reviewed with the family and the district dietitian before Nutrition Services can make adjustments in the published menu to meet a special dietary need. Please email the completed form to email@example.com or fax: (425) 456-4586.