Dangers lurking in lunchboxes

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When Owen, who was diagnosed with food allergies at age 2, began nursery school last year, Jean had “drilled into his head” that he should only eat food that she, his father or his grandparents gave to him — but she never mentioned his teacher. After weeks of finding Owen’s snack uneaten in his lunch box, Reid realized what the problem was. “Since he’d never been in school,” she said, “he didn’t know he could eat food from his teacher.”

Christine Weston’s daughter Jillian, a first-grader at Waverly Park Elementary School, is allergic to dairy products, a condition that is often confused with lactose intolerance, but the two are completely different. While a food intolerance doesn’t involve the body’s immune system and is never life-threatening, a food allergy does, and is.

Christine recently took Jillian to a birthday party where pizza and ice cream were served — two foods Jillian can’t have. As usual, Christine brought her own food supply for her daughter. Making sure her food-allergic child eats properly is part of the job, she said.

“Every single thing needs to be investigated,” Christine said, “because they will die if they eat something that they’re allergic to.”

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