Harry Vandoloski: Nut ban in Amherst is problematic
To the editor:
Like many other issues the Amherst, the school ban on nut products is born of good intentions but may cause more difficulties than it solves. To be consistent and treat all students fairly, nearly all foods should be banned.
According to mayoclinic.com, soy can cause the life-threatening condition of anaphylaxis. Dairy can cause anaphylaxis. Also “In some people, pollen-food allergy syndrome (from eating fresh fruits and vegetables) — sometimes called oral allergy syndrome — can cause swelling of the throat or even anaphylaxis.” A child or adult who has a serious allergy has to take great precautions to avoid the risk of endangering themselves through contact with the wrong items. Society cannot protect every individual from all harm, no matter how much it tries to do so by inconveniencing the rest of the population.
If someone believes a “law” banning harmful substances will protect them it would seem they may be more trusting of what they eat and more likely to make a fatal error.
Educating the public to serious health issues is commendable, but the one best suited to maintain the health and safety of an individual is that individual (or, in the case of a young child, those adults directly responsible for monitoring that child). Although I have great sympathy for anyone with a serious allergy, we do not keep children from harm in this world by removing all harm (obviously an impossible task). It usually serves them much better to be given the knowledge and ability to avoid that which may be harmful. Young children can be taught to not touch sharp knives or fire. Those with a serious allergy should be taught to avoid any food that is not directly provided or approved by their parent or guardian.