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Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Schär: Avoiding the School Cafeteria Blues
Today is the first day of school for over 1 million New York City students. In honor of the first day of school, I wanted to share a letter that Schär put together for your child's school. This is a great introductory letter for your child's teacher, principal, and food service manager. It is up to the parents to be vigilant about their child's health and a letter such as this is a great way to open up the communication between your family and your child's school.

For more information about Schär, visit their US website at

For more back-to-school tips from Schär, click here.

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing on behalf of ___________________ who was recently diagnosed with celiac disease and must follow a gluten free diet.

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that predominately affects the gastrointestinal tract with symptoms such as diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting, bloating and intestinal damage causing malabsorption. The only treatment for celiac disease is life long adherence to a gluten free diet. Gluten is a generic term used to describe the specific amino acid sequence found in the grains wheat, rye and barley. There are a lot of naturally gluten free foods such as fruit, vegetables, milk, cheese, meat, fish and poultry as long absolutely no flour, cracker crumbs, bread crumbs has touched the food. Although it appears to be a relatively easy prescription to follow the inclusion of these flours and many of their byproducts in such common foods as soups, sauces, and lipsticks can make the diet daunting. In addition to the foods that we eat gluten can be a common ingredient in many art supplies used in the classroom. Gluten is found in playdough, paper mache, and even in some glues. Following a gluten free diet requires diligence and preplanning.

The initiation of a gluten free diet allows the intestine to heal and reverses the damage and symptoms caused by gluten ingestion. Once started on a gluten free diet a person with celiac disease can lead a full and normal life. The regular meals and snacks offered during the school day are a concern because of the issues of cross contamination, use of sauces, breads, and crackers in prepared meals. For a food to be considered gluten free not only does it require the food to start out un-processed and gluten free but it must also remain clean and not contaminated by other gluten containing foods, sauces, shared serving utensils or even crumbs that may be on a counter top or cutting board.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.


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