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My kids' school bans homemade goodies


Rinsewind
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My childrens' preschool recently banned parents from bringing in homemade baked goods to share with other kids-- only store-bought goodies allowed. The reason, I was told, was that the school doesn't know if homemade food is prepared under sanitary conditions.

Am I unreasonable in my negative reaction to this rule? I know my kitchen is clean and I would far rather bring in something that I know was made with love and good basic ingredients rather than some gummy store-bought cake with a million preservatives from the local grocery store (I'm not a natural foods only for kids person, I just think homemade tastes far superior, and I have better control over ingredients). I suppose I could go to a bakery, but I don't really want to spend $35 on a cake for a bunch of four year olds.

I suppose I understand the intent, but the whole idea seems to have shaded over into the excessive. *sigh*

Any opinions?

"An' I expect you don't even know that we happen to produce some partic'ly fine wines, our Chardonnays bein' 'specially worthy of attention and compet'tively priced, not to mention the rich, firmly structur'd Rusted Dunny Valley Semillons, which are a tangily refreshin' discovery for the connesewer ...yew bastard?"

"Jolly good, I'll have a pint of Chardonnay, please."

Rincewind and Bartender, The Last Continent by Terry Pratchett

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i think it is b.s. but in our litigious society, if one kid gets sick...there's reason for someone to sue somebody else.

the school is just trying to avoid this and there was probably a case where this happened which set a precedent.

their only control in enforcing the purchasing of packaged food is that the health department has supposedly deemed the commercial kitchen "clean and safe" or at least cleaner and safer than your home kitchen which doesn't have a health department certificate on the wall.

it stinks that we have arrived at this point. no more bake sales either, i gather?

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IMHO, I think it is ridiculous. I could *possibly* understand if it were based on allergies etc. but for sanitary reasons? Hellooooo, are they checking all the stores/bakeries/restaurants the parents will now have to frequent to make sure everything is up to code??? And ummm, what about lunches? Is your child still allowed to bring a lunch? I would assume so as it is not meant to be shared (we all know that's not the case...) I guess the fundraising bake sale is out of the question now, hmmm.

Barbara Laidlaw aka "Jake"

Good friends help you move, real friends help you move bodies.

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i think it is b.s. but in our litigious society, if one kid gets sick...there's reason for someone to sue somebody else.

the school is just trying to avoid this and there was probably a case where this happened which set a precedent.

their only control in enforcing the purchasing of packaged food is that the health department has supposedly deemed the commercial kitchen "clean and safe" or at least cleaner and safer than your home kitchen which doesn't have a health department certificate on the wall.

it stinks that we have arrived at this point.  no more bake sales either, i gather?

It is too bad that teacher/administrators who are likely reasonable and well-meaning have to spend their time thinking about this stuff.

Could solve this problem by requiring that parents sign a release form to allow the kids to do this. The kids whose parents don't sign get no treats. Imagine the pressure a pre-schooler can apply to his parents if they have to sit out getting treats.

Stephen Bunge

St Paul, MN

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Am I unreasonable in my negative reaction to this rule? I know my kitchen is clean and I would far rather bring in something that I know was made with love and good basic ingredients rather than some gummy store-bought cake with a million preservatives from the local grocery store (I'm not a natural foods only for kids person, I just think homemade tastes far superior, and I have better control over ingredients). I suppose I could go to a bakery, but I don't really want to spend $35 on a cake for a bunch of four year olds.

I, too think it is sort of silly. However, I know my kitchen is clean, but how do I know that the other parents have the same standards?

I've gotten around the purchased cakes and cookies by taking in fruit or frozen ice cream treats. This past year, Peter took in a box of clementines for his birthday, and everyone loved them!

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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It is comical at best considering the processed and chemical garbage that is in most store bought goodies including but not limited to corn syrup, mono and diglycerides (my mom's cookies never included those!) and the oh so popular vanillin when real vanilla is just too expensive for the billion $ candy/cake makers bottom line.

-Mike

-Mike & Andrea

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My kid's preschool allowed home baked treats, but in cases of kids with allergies (sever peanut allergy in one case) they asked for store bought treats, and peanut free lunches for the other kids. And they have a no-candy policy for holidays.

As the parent of kids who can't have chocolate, I appreciate non-candy Halloween, Valentines Day, etc., goodies. Kids are usually plenty happy with stickers and the like.

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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That's awful, given how unhealthy store bought baked goods are. Clearly this is not about the kids health. And what kind of food poisoning are you going to get from a cookie anyway? We're not about talking raw meat. I imagine soon parents won't let their kids eat at other kids' homes, either.

Can you ally with some other parents and stage a revolt? Or, better yet, work to ban the terribly unhealthy foods like store bought cookies? I mean, with all the talk of childhood obesity these days I'm a bit surprised anyone's bringing stuff like this in for all the kids. Why not bring fruit or something not processed and loaded with sugar?

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I just bring in a tub of dehydrogenated oils, making sure they have all of the trans fats and a 25 pound bag of sugar and a mixer. I let the kids cream them together and then go nuts.

I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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I know my kitchen is clean, but how do I know that the other parents have the same standards?

and this is most assuredly an issue ... as a former teacher, I can tell you that setting standards for food being brought in from home is a real problem.

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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Its a silly state of affairs, but I certainly do not fault the school administators --they probably understand that the risks are utterly miniscule, but also understand that if little Joey's dad brought in a cake filled with laxative or rum of whatever and was allowed to distribute it, they would be portrayed as reckless and sued into oblivion.

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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It is comical at best considering the processed and chemical garbage that is in most store bought goodies including but not limited to corn syrup, mono and diglycerides (my mom's cookies never included those!) and the oh so popular vanillin when real vanilla is just too expensive for the billion $ candy/cake makers bottom line.

-Mike

If you don't like vanillin, then stop using natural vanilla extract also. Vanillin is the naturally occuring chemical in vanilla that give it its trademark aroma. Artificially produced vanillin is simply produced in a factory, but is till the same stuff chemically. Artificial vanilla is actually more purely "vanilla" than natural vanilla...

But, I get the point you are trying to make... :smile:

"It's better to burn out than to fade away"-Neil Young

"I think I hear a dingo eating your baby"-Bart Simpson

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if little Joey's dad brought in a cake filled with laxative or rum of whatever and was allowed to distribute it, they would be portrayed as reckless and sued into oblivion.

A similar thing happened here .. two high school girls made a cake and it had a lot of awful, toxic ingredients in it .. made as a prank .. kids did get sick and the girls wound up being arrested until the ingredients were ascertained ... all told, much heartbreak for ingesters and cooks alike.

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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I personally wouldn't have a problem with this. My daughter brought a box of oranges to school for her birthday too, this year, along with a few dozen favors, to pass out around her classes. And, I've invested heavily in holiday pencils, erasers, joke booklets, stickers, toys and such for her to pass around during holidays. I LOVE food, but I don't think it's a great idea to center every single memory around the edible stuff. For one thing, some of the kids have allergies or other restrictions, and they don't want to advertise it, so they lose out, either way. hjshorter mentioned that her kiddles can't have chocolate, well, why should they be sidelined if some kid brings in chocolates or chocolate cupcakes? Childhood is a time for inclusion, not exclusion or worse, seclusion, respecially related to a snack. Besides, you send sweets, and the kids fly, crash and burn out, and schooling goes all to heckaroni for the rest of the day. Kids get a lot MORE fun time mileage out of nonfood related items, than a bit of snack gives.

edited by me: respecially, sounds like Scooby when you say it! :laugh::laugh:

I see you all trying it out at your keyboards! :laugh:

Edited by Rebecca263 (log)

More Than Salt

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Boy do I appreciate your frustration, but this isn't a cleanliness issue, it's a food safety issue, likely enforced by your state's health department and public spaces like schools just need to follow suit.

I'm quite sure your home kitchen is clean. Clean isn't the issue. But do you know how long your buttercream can be held at room temperature or at which temperature you need to boil milk products at to repasteurize them? Perhaps you do, but not all of the other children's parents do. And 4 year old bodies are more delicate and susceptible to foodborne illness.

Don't get me wrong.... having a health inspected kitchen DOES NOT equate cleanliness or food safety; we all know this is true! But at least those kitchens can be inspected; at least the knowledge of proper food handling is there, should the kitchen staff choose to implement it when the inspector isn't looking.

We all know kids put all kinds of things in their mouths all the time and they don't die from it. Well actually, no often at least. But salmonella and e.coli, the two most common, are lethal in some people with lower or underdeveloped immunity, which 4 year olds happen to be. And nobody in this day and age needs to become deathly ill or die because somebody didn't wash a strawberry properly; I'm sure you'll agree.

In the future, you can still go ahead and have that homebaked birthday cake for your child. You can still have your child enjoy sharing it with his or her classmates at a birthday party. But you just need to do it at home from now on. The difference being, that the classmates' parents had the choice to send their child to your home for said party knowing there would be food served that was prepared in an unlicenced facility. If they make that choice, and probably all of them will, your child still gets their cake and party. If the cake shows up at school, those same parents didn't get the choice about what their children would be consuming that day. And with implementing this policy, the school eliminates its liability. I hope you understand the difference.

You know, up here, sharing food in public spaces like schools is banned by the health department. Well banned isn't the appropriate word, it's provincial law, which is something readily implemented when you have government run health care. Bake sales are also banned. So are potlucks of any kind. Half-centuries old annual traditions of chili cookoffs are banned. One cannot cater their own wedding or reunion in a public space, either. Nobody really likes any of it, but it's intended for the greater good.

I hope that clarifies the issue somewhat. My post isn't intended to make you agree with the policy or like the policy, but rather to inform you why it' been done. :smile:

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Well, store bought goodies could include things like fruit and yogurt.

My daughter's school has a similar policy, but allows home-baked goods for birthdays. I think such policies can spring from many issues, not just questions of sanitation. Allergies, avoiding too many sweets from overzealous cupcake bakers, etc.

Another tack might be to suggest the school incorporate the cost of snacks into tuition and not ask parents to provide them.

I think we need chrisamerault to weigh in.

Edited by bavila (log)

Bridget Avila

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You know, up here, sharing food in public spaces like schools is banned by the health department. Well banned isn't the appropriate word, it's provincial law, which is something readily implemented when you have government run health care. Bake sales are also banned. So are potlucks of any kind. Half-centuries old annual traditions of chili cookoffs are banned. One cannot cater their own wedding or reunion in a public space, either. Nobody really likes any of it, but it's intended for the greater good. 

What???? Where do you live??? Here in BC, the bake sale is still alive and kicking and happening in the local mall every weekend....potlucks abound at the Legion, the office and every church in town...I just won the Chili Cookoff at work, and I catered my own wedding right down to the peanut brittle favors. Now I feel the need to draw the curtains and hide my crockpot :laugh: Really, I've never heard such a thing here.

I can get behind the idea behind this - it has some validity, and I completely agree with Rebecca that not all memories need to be food based. I'm living proof that it might have been a better idea to send me to school with some erasers and stickers rather than all those cakes, cookies and squares...a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips, as it were.

It's when they start telling you what you can pack in your own child's personal lunch that I get peeved.

Don't try to win over the haters. You're not the jackass whisperer."

Scott Stratten

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Thanks to all of you for your input. The school does still have bake sales, but the items need to be store bought. Mostly they raise extra money through book fairs, which is fine.

As I mentioned in the first post, I suppose I do *understand* the rule. But food has meaning beyond potential ground for litigation. Making a birthday cake or cupcakes for my children for them to share with their friends at school lets them know I understand a birthday is a special thing to them-- my son is old enough to help me in the kitchen when I bake and he's proud of what he helps make to serve his friends. He could help me pick out stickers or oranges and it wouldn't ruin the occasion of course, but something would be missing. Because I work full time, it really means something that I spend time baking with him and take time off of work to celebrate his birthday with his class.

For Valentine's Day, we compromised-- we made paper valentines for his classmates, and baked special cookies for his teachers (who have all pointed out several times that the ban on bake goods is only for the kids-- they are happy to eat them :wink: ). It seems a reasonable compromise to make for all other holidays, but birthdays just seem different. Oh well. And I always did check for allergies in the class-- in our preschool they are listed on a board in each classroom so that no student is accidentally given food he or she is allergic to. There's a general no peanuts or peanut products rule in general in place as well.

Again, I do appreciate the input, especially from those of you who support the rule. I won't whine to the director now...

"An' I expect you don't even know that we happen to produce some partic'ly fine wines, our Chardonnays bein' 'specially worthy of attention and compet'tively priced, not to mention the rich, firmly structur'd Rusted Dunny Valley Semillons, which are a tangily refreshin' discovery for the connesewer ...yew bastard?"

"Jolly good, I'll have a pint of Chardonnay, please."

Rincewind and Bartender, The Last Continent by Terry Pratchett

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My child's preschool encourages snacks brought in be healthy, no junk food allowed. However, on special occasions they will make or ask parents to provide treats for all of the kids. They will usually provide a sign up sheet where only so many parents can sign up for "junk food" treats, ie cupcakes, etc. and the rest is asked to provide juice, fruit and veggies.

I do not let my children eat too much sweets and don't keep it around the house, I will buy or make some for an occasional treat. I don't mind the preschool offering it also as an occasional treat but would certainly not want it to be a regular thing. I agree with sugarella in that I would like to be informed if my child is going to be offered snacks other than those I will be sending with her to preschool and appreciate my preschool's policy to limiting treats brought in. I'm not against it but just like to be informed what she is eating.

A truly destitute man is not one without riches, but the poor wretch who has never partaken of lobster. - anonymous
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Home made Valentines, now that's great! And, you spent time together, and used some creativity, just like baking. I really like that idea. We make home made stickers sometimes, but they're not good for school.... cut shapes and pictures out of paper (just no really thin paper, and nothing with a rough texture, it absorbs too much of the slurry), dissolve some kojel or other flavored gelatin in just enough hot water to make a thin paste, paint the cut outs with the slurry on one side, let dry... Voila! Sweet colored tongues when you decide to stick the stickers! It's the only decent use for gelatin in my book, other than Rachel Perlow inspired art works!

More Than Salt

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Cure Cutaneous Lymphoma

Join the DarkSide---------------------------> DarkSide Member #006-03-09-06

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A few thoughts. If I'm reading correctly, the school isn't banning all homemade items:

My childrens' preschool recently banned parents from bringing in homemade baked goods to share with other kids-- only store-bought goodies allowed. The reason, I was told, was that the school doesn't know if homemade food is prepared under sanitary conditions.

I think a few posters here have been arguing against a ban on homemade foods -- which is not what this school is doing.

While I would not do this at my preschool, there are lots of reasons why it makes sense to me. The food health issues have been covered above; I'll point out that, as I did in another thread today, serious food allergies require only tiny amounts of something to set off a health crisis. In addition, there are non-health issues that are very significant culturally, particularly for families that keep kosher or halal.

It is too bad that teacher/administrators who are likely reasonable and well-meaning have to spend their time thinking about this stuff.

Could solve this problem by requiring that parents sign a release form to allow the kids to do this.  The kids whose parents don't sign get no treats.  Imagine the pressure a pre-schooler can apply to his parents if they have to sit out getting treats.

It is too bad that we have to deal with these things, but we do. Insurance issues and the threat of litigation looms over naptime, playgrounds, and it certainly covers food. Having said that, getting a release from parents doesn't really help much. If the food came from Stop n Shop, then they'd be sued for selling it; if it came from a family in my program, we'd be sued for allowing it in the room.

The thing that strikes me about this entire affair is how poorly it seems to have been communicated. There are ways to introduce new policies that involve community information, more "do's" than "don'ts," that sort of thing.

edited to add: What about cooking in the classrooms? Is that verboten? What a loss if so....

Edited by chrisamirault (log)

Chris Amirault

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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A few thoughts. If I'm reading correctly, the school isn't banning all homemade items

I should have been more clear. Children may bring in homemade food for their own consumption. They may not share it with others. I mentioned baked goods specifically because I was thinking about birthday celebrations with cakes, cupcakes, or cookies.

"An' I expect you don't even know that we happen to produce some partic'ly fine wines, our Chardonnays bein' 'specially worthy of attention and compet'tively priced, not to mention the rich, firmly structur'd Rusted Dunny Valley Semillons, which are a tangily refreshin' discovery for the connesewer ...yew bastard?"

"Jolly good, I'll have a pint of Chardonnay, please."

Rincewind and Bartender, The Last Continent by Terry Pratchett

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