From EAG News:

WARREN, N.J. – The Warren Township Board of Education is blaming student food allergies for its decision to ban birthday treats from the district’s classrooms.

“The school nurses were involved I helping us look at the hours they spend determining whether or not the birthday party foods are appropriate for the class, given allergy concerns,” Interim Superintendent Elizabeth Nastus told the Echoes-Sentinel. “Those hours spent assessing the food take valuable time away from their daily nursing practice.

“This is not an attempt to discourage birthday celebrations,” Nastus assured, “it is a way to identify alternative opportunities to celebrate each child’s birthday that are not potentially jeopardizing those students with health or allergy-related issues.”

School officials contend students in the district’s five schools currently suffer from about 30 different allergens, including but not limited to nuts, dairy, legumes, eggs, soy, cherries, red dye, gluten, pineapples, sesame seeds, meat, fish, shellfish, watermelon, kiwis, peas, strawberries, blueberries, peaches, nectarines, mangos and plums, Tap into Warren reports.

Last school year nurses analyzed more than 2,234 food donations for those allergens, school officials said.

“The board has indicated that it does not want our schools to be food-free. The board recognizes that food can enrich students’ learning experiences in a curriculum-based lesson or event,” Nastus wrote in a statement to parents.

“To balance all of the above, the Policy Committee, in efforts to provide a safe environment for all of our students, made the recommendation to the full Board to eliminate food…

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