Gluten free school lunches and your rights!

Published Friday, February 26, 2010
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Are you aware that according to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), celiac disease is defined as an actual disability and that the United States Department of Agriculture Food and Agriculture (USDA) has also adopted this definition as well.  What it means is that all children with CD are included under the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service Guidance on Children with Special Dietary Needs.  Did you know that the USDA oversees the school lunch programs and requires all participating school systems to provide substitutions for students with any food allergy and/or intolerances that qualify as a disability and as previous stated Celiac Disease is an eating disability.  Under section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and American with Disabilities Act they define a disability as “any person who has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities including EATING. 

First thing to do is to see if your child is qualified.  You will need a note from your child’s doctor indicating that they in fact have celiac disease and explaining which foods are to be avoided.  Your next step is to set up a 504 plan.  If you would like more information you can go HERE.  Start researching now so you can get ready for the next school year.

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1 comment
  • Sweet Christine's Bakery - Gourmet Gluten-Free
    May 27, 2010 M. Myers (anonymous) email: said:
    Sorry, but your statements about the ADA are just plain wrong. Nothing in the ADA defines specific diseases as disabilities - I got that fact from working with the federal Department of Justice on a case involving celiac, and I'm quite sure they know what they're talking about. Definition of disability is determined on a case by case basis, and what might qualify a young child for special protection might not apply to an independant adult.
    Next, 504 plans are almost impossible to enforce, especially when it comes to food, and right now federal law does not yet REQUIRE schools to provide GF lunches, that is still at just the "in progress" stage of enactment.
    Finally, your url for the USDA is wrong.

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