Similar to restrictions on other “vices,” like smoking among adults, children who indulge in peanut butter sandwiches and snacks based on the food, like Bamba, will be restricted to specific areas of school grounds, in order to prevent children who are allergic to peanuts from being tempted by the treats. A letter to that effect has gone out, according to Ariel Levi, deputy director of the education ministry.
Speaking at a special session of the Knesset Subcommittee on Children’s Rights, Levi said that the Ministry “has for years been very concerned over this issue. Some 20,000 children and youth are allergic to peanut products. We work on two levels – one, by educating children who are allergic as to the dangers of ingesting products not allowed to them, as well as by restricting access to peanut products; and two, by providing aides whose job it is to watch out for children’s safety. Many children already know not to bring these items to school, and for those who do, there are ‘sterile areas’ in classrooms and lunchrooms where they cannot be brought.”
The ministry stressed that some 2,600 children are accompanied by aides who keep them away from materials they are sensitive to, including peanuts, dairy, wheat and other items to which many children are allergic. Just five years ago fewer than 100 children had access to such aides.
“We are currently revising regulations on the matter, as the current ones are out of date,” said Levy. “The new regulations, which we will issue to parents, will ban specific foods, or restrict them to limited areas of schools.”