Over the last year, we have noticed an increase in children that have food allergies. I know the DSS regulation states we have to supply an alternative meal for the children with an allergy. My staff received training on food allergies last Wednesday and we were informed that the parents have to supply us a written documentation from a doctor stating its a food allergy. We were told that parents are claiming children have an allergy when they actually have an intolerance. Are we required to provide an alternate menu for children with food intolerance too?
The Licensing regulations were written to ensure the needs of all children are met, regardless of the extent of the dietary issue. Whether it is an allergy or an intolerance, if properly documented as described in regulations, an alternative menu must be provided. The question states parents are claiming allergies when they actually have an intolerance. If a parent enrolls a child and informs the center that dietary modifications are needed due to an intolerance, the center should ask for written documentation from the child’s health care provider or from the parent. These are the two regulations:
DSS Regulation Number 114-508 A(9) Dietary alternatives shall be available for a child who has special health needs or religious beliefs.
DSS Regulation Number 114-508 A(10) Written permission/instructions for dietary modifications signed by the child’s health care provider or parent or legal guardian are required.
The regulations allow for the issue to be resolved at enrollment. If they receive written dietary requirements from the parent and enroll the child without documentation from the health care provider, then they must comply with what the parent claims. We have all heard of people who are lactose intolerant. This means they cannot digest dairy products. Should we give a lactose intolerant child milk just because documentation doesn’t exist? No, best practice says we should provide an alternative, but the regulations require that we document the intolerance or allergy when the child is enrolled.