Mass Hysteria Over Peanuts
The great lengths that schools are now taking towards banning certain foods, especially nuts, are akin to mass hysteria, according to one Harvard professor.
Gone are the days of the peanut butter and jelly sandwich in every child's lunch box, as tighter and tighter regulations prevent any food items to accompany a student to school if it contains traces of nuts. Dr. Nicholas Christakis does not deem this reaction is in proportion to the actual threat, as stated in a recent opinion article.
In one case:
"a peanut was spotted on the floor of a school bus, whereupon the bus was evacuated and cleaned ... even though it was full of 10-year-olds who, unlike two-year-olds, could actually be told not to eat food off the floor," he writes.
But Christakis said there is no evidence that any of these extreme restrictions - including banning certain foods from schools - work better than more circumscribed policies or that they justify the disruptions they create.
However, what is deemed over cautious by some is thought responsible by others. Dr. Susan Waserman, an allergist believes that for parents whose children have severe allergies, no amount of safety is too much.
Waserman noted there are still many unanswered questions about allergies, such as how much of a certain food is needed to cause a reaction in a particular child and just how vigilant do parents and institutions like schools need to be.
Parents who must contend with the daily fear of their child having a fatal food reaction may want to err on the side of absolute caution.”
While nuts continue to get a bad rap, fellow Now Public reporters are reminding us that nuts are not all bad and can actually help cut heart problems.