38 answers

Homemade Treats in School

Do any of you know why the schools stopped allowing them? We can't think of a single reason that makes sense, but there must be some political reason behind it. Everything must be store bought now and not only does it cost a lot more but the store bought stuff doesn't taste as hood. When we were growing up, we had room mothers who would vounteer to brin in cupcakes, cookies etc for the party/occasion. I wish my kids could have the same fun experience.

What can I do next?

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It's not political. It is safety concerns. Usually if you store buy something, the ingredients are listed right on the box. Plus, you take out the element of somebody putting something dangerous in the treats at home.

When I was still in highschool, one of the "big" boys that got picked on a lot brought homemade cookies with exlax (sp?) in them! He passed them around to a bunch of the jocks who were picking on him. Lets just say that they spent the rest of the school day in the bathroom.......

Situations like that have contributed to this rule!

As others have mentioned, I have heard of school banning home made treats due to allergies. My daughter's preschool however just recently requested all snacks due to the flu outbreaks and illnesses going around.

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I studied elementary education in college and we were told it was a health and safety reason.

My college professor was a principle at a local elementary school. He told us a story of a "cake walk" back in the days when you could bake treats and bring them. He was chatting with a Kindergarten boy who said, "Do you want to hear a funny story? My mom baked one of those cakes and frosted it last night. When we woke up, we realized our cat had licked off all the frosting!" The principle asked, "Did your mom have to make a new cake?" The Kindergartener replied, "No, she just re-frosted it." The principle grabbed the cake before anyone "won" it, but the point was made.

Also, if people don't wash their hands before preparing food, there can be transmission of Hepatitis, viruses, etc. Lots of kids have food allergies now and if someone prepares food at home, there is no telling what food residue is on hands, bowls, mixing utensils, etc.

Even if you and every mom you know would never do something like this, it doesn't mean that there isn't a single parent in the district who won't. The only way to solve the problem is to mandate food that has been prepared professionally by someone with a food handler's permit.


1 mom found this helpful

Our school has gone to store purchased foods as well..... Has to do with severe egg allergies as well as peanut allergies. So it is safer for everyone. I will be honest; I am very OCD about other poeple's cooking. We wash our hands prior to consuming our meal when we eat out and I wash my hands all the time when cooking. We will never eat/drink behind each other in our home and I have seen people lick fingers when cooking and it drives me nuts. So I have a rule..... If I have not seen your kitchen and how you cook then I will not eat your food. I know we are not aware what is going on in a restaurant; but I truly hope they are govern by enough rules that this is limited.

So I am happy the schools have gone to this. I know some people are just plain nasty. I watch people wash their hands in the bathrooms of public places. The little water on the hands without soap is just plain useless.... If you do not believe me stand in a public restroom while pretending to mess with your hair. I bet more do NOT obey the soap & friction through the "Happy Birthday/ABC song" than do....

1 mom found this helpful

I don't think it is political. It is just that so many kids have allergies and it would be rather easy to sneak any substance, good or bad, into a homemade item.

I agree that store bought baked goods are much more expensive and not as tasty. However baked good from a store are prepared with strict rules for cleanliness and come with an ingredient lable. So many people have dietary restrictions and can easily see what is in the items they are eating.

I understand, C.- but it was primarily an allergy issue in our school that caused its spread. We had a couple students (one with milk allergies, and another with SEVERE peanut allergies) that were always 'singled' out with a different treat-- all the students would get the pink frosted cup cake and the student with the allergies would be given the 'special' treat that their parent had provided in bulk at the beginning of the year, just in case they were needed.
I guess the same fun experience might have to be moved from the classroom to your home- have a holiday party there ? Sorry, no easy solution I guess.

Food allergies -- Homemade treats don't come with a list of ingredients.

Liability -- If a kid gets sick from homemade treats lawsuits will follow.

The school my daughter goes to no outside food is allowed at all. If there is a b-day they bake the cake their, or cookies...I now for the school she goes to it has a lot to do with allergies. But I can see how they don't want to take the risk of students getting sick with all the sue happy people out there!

I too ran across this issue recently. I think the driving force is to keep kids healthy. Some kids have allergies, and with homemade treats you don't necessarily know the ingredients. Also with more young ones having diabetes these days, they need to know the calorie counts. These are the only things that I can think of. I know it is frustrating, but this allows for people to think outside the box as well. My son and I recently found a big package of pencils to give out for Halloween instead of treats. Just my thoughts...

I worked in a day care center up until I had my son in March. They too had the rule of no home baked treats for the kids. We brought them in all the time to share with staff though. The reasoning on not allowing the kids to have home baked stuff was caution with allergies. We had almost 20 kids in the center with peanut allergies, 5 or 6 with egg allergies and a few others with random allergies. So with the possibility of popping an epi pen out for those kids it just wasn't worth it at all. At least with store bought treats you have an ingredient list printed for you to go by.

Edited to add an idea for you for the next treat you might have to bring in..
Of course okay this with the teacher because it IS messy and you'll have however many kids on a slight sugar high afterwards, but its so fun! You don't have to go all out with decorations if you don't want to either. At one point when I brought in a treat for my class I bought sugar cookies (luckily I didn't have any allergies in my room that time otherwise maybe find an okay snack for those as well) and bought that squirt out frosting from a can, few different colors. Get some things to decorate with like sprinkles,small candies, m&m's, gummi worms. Then each kid will basically get a little bit of everything to decorate their own cookie. I think if a teacher ever agreed to this though I would have to volunteer to help. The set up is pretty time consuming and so is clean up. We did this at the end of the year as my class was going off to kindergarten and they absolutely loved it.

It's because of food allergies. You don't have a label to be able to read the ingredients. Unless you have a child with a peanut/egg/milk type of allergy you aren't nearly as savvy as picking out these ingredients if you're looking at something like a box cake mix. I have 2 kids with food allergies and neither will touch a homemade treat because the older one knows it could be a fatal mistake.

I think a lot of it is because of the increase in food allergies and special diets kids have now. There are kids with severe peanut allergies that can't risk eating anything which may have come in contact with peanuts. We've had kids in my son's school with gluten, wheat and milk allergies as well. It'd probably be pretty expensive for you to make gluten, dairy free cupcakes every time they need a treat at school as well, and guarantee that you didn't somehow contaminate them with peanut butter from the sandwich you made earlier. Having purchased snacks allows those with dietary issues to check the packaging for ingredients and know for certain what they are eating.

My children both have food allergies, but their schools do allow homemade treats. It would be a lot easier for me if they did not allow them. I send safe treats with my children that they can have when the class treat is homemade. Although just eliminating the homemade treats wouldn't completely help because parents still bring store bought treats that are unsafe for my children. Parents who don't have children with allergies just don't have the understanding or experience to shop for allergy free foods. I think someday it will get so the school will have to provide the treats just as they provide the lunches. That is unless they can figure out a cure for food allergies!

One of my "children" has a peanut allergy which can be deadly! The teacher must be able to read the ingredient list and if peanuts are included he eats a special snack in the nurses/principal office. Even kissing someone who has eaten peanuts can be deadly.
At home I make everything my self but with just a beginning of the year note to the classmates and parents is not enough protection.
Their are more allergies now for some reason than when I was a kid, I understand your concern but the life of even one child is so important!
I am glad for the new rules!

Alot of it has to do with children that have food allergies.

My daughters school bans homemade food also. Everything brought in needs to be prepackaged. The reseaon they gave was because of peanut allergies. It's to easy to cross contaminate when things are made at home.

It is due a lot to food allergies, but in some cases there is a state law that outside foods must be prepared in a commercial kitchen. Like others have mentioned, it is because you have no idea of the cleanliness of the kitchen, cooking utensils, or cooks. (This is the same reason why in some states you won't see homemade treats sold at craft fairs, farmers' markets, etc.) As a teacher, when students bring me homemade food gifts for Christmas or other occasions, I do not eat them. I do not want to take the chance that me (or my family) could become sick because the food was prepared in an unsafe way. My grandmother used to bake cakes for people. After she died and we were going through things in her house, I was horrified at the condition her kitchen was in (cat hair everywhere, dried up food on her mixer, etc.) I took her coffee pot home and my cousin took her mixer home. Both of us ended up just throwing them away because we couldn't get them clean. I still get a little queasy thinking about all of the cakes she made that I ate and all of the cakes (wedding, birthday, retirement, etc) that she sold. I never would have guessed her kitchen was in that sort of condition. It's for everyone's safety that homemade foods are not allowed in schools.

the reasons i know of are worrying about food allergies and worrying about what kind of conditions there are where the food is made. some people aren't as clean as others. also, it really went into effect after a story about a 14 yr old girl (out east, i think) brought cupcakes with drug-laced frosting to school on purpose. we never used to have to worry about stuff like that!

The reason is two-fold: allergies and the risk of someone "touching" the food, not preparing/storing it properly. I know - and completely agree with you - regarding the taste, the excitement of the kids when "their" treat is raved about...

My daughter's school took the next logical step and has done away with bringing any class treats in for birthdays. I am greatful for this. This saves money, sugar/fat, and hassle. Parties can be thrown at home with each family's choice of food and activities. Now the child having a birthday on a school day gets a special birthday pencil to take home and some recognition from their teacher and classmates, and that's that. They've also minimized the celebration of other holidays during school, which I'm all for, for financial, nutritional, and cultural reasons.

I can understand the frustration. I would rather make something than buy it. My sons class cannot bring anything with peanuts into the class because someone has a severe peanut allergy. It's scary how easily someone can come into harm just having it near them and not even eating it. In the end it is for everyone else's and really your own safety that things have to be made at the store to guarantee the ingredients are everyone friendly. It makes it harder when you have to bring snacks for the whole class. My sons kindergarten did that. I only have to provide a healty snack for my son now so it makes it much easier and I don't ever really bring snacks in for everyone so I don't have to worry about that.

Hi C.,

I miss the days of homemade treats myself. One reason maybe all the allergies that did not exist when I was in school. My sons are allergic to peanuts and tree nuts which are found in a lot of cupcake box mixes and just about everything. If the treats are store bought the teachers can at least assure me that there are not nuts in the treats with home made they are clueless. I bring special birthday treats that my son eats by himself anyways but this could be one of the reasons for the change.

To protect kids with food allergies. Labels show all ingredients - no questions. No cross contamination. Bummer, I know. I love to bake.

As others have mentioned, I have heard of school banning home made treats due to allergies. My daughter's preschool however just recently requested all snacks due to the flu outbreaks and illnesses going around.

I'm not sure, but our school still allows it. It may be your area.

The reason has to do with food poisoning, the increased spread of disease, and the potential for poisoning.

Should a child get food poisoning or get E. Coli from a treat that can be linked to school, the school, not the parent who brought the treat, is liable. Therefore, in this sue-happy world, schools can't take the risk.

Trust me, the schools don't like it either. But, there's nothing we can do until our society changes the way we do business.

Three words: Food born illnesses.

There is no way to guarantee the quality of the handling of food that comes from homes. If there is a food born illness, the health department really likes to be able to track the source to prevent its spread and this is one way to facilitate that.

Also, it prevents kids with serious allergies, like nuts, from being accidentally exposed.

It is, I agree, a drag though.

No, it doesn't have anything to do with food poisoning ~ it's all about food allergies.

I am an elementary teacher and in one school district I taught in homemade treats were no longer allowed because there had been several instances of students getting ill from homemade treats because the families that made the treats did not wash their hands properly when preparing the treats. I cannot remember the term for it. I believe it had something to do with people not washing hands properly after using the bathroom and then preparing the treats. I think some schools try to avoid these situations by just making a blanket rule that treats need to be store-bought. I also have students with egg and nut allergies this year which makes it even more challenging to have class treats that everyone can enjoy. Hope this helps!

I know it's a pain but I am grateful for the new rules. Both of my kids have Type 1 diabetes and it's easy to see the carb count on prepackaged foods.

Hi C.,
I am one reason the schools have discontinued homemade snacks in schools. My son has a severe deadly peanut allergy, meaning he cannot be near peanuts or tree nuts. If the snack is homemade it's hard to be sure the snack is safe. If it's store bought with the labels on it, the teachers and aides are able to read the ingredients and determine if my son is able to partake in the snack with his class for the day. Also, with the recent outbreak of the flu epidemic schools just feel that store bought could reduce the outbreak. Not to mention there are those out there who bake and cook while their cats and dogs roam around the countertops and such. I think it's just a safer alternative, even though it would be nice if we could be as trusting and trustworthy as our parents and grandparents were when we were growing up.

I worked in a school where students had a very severe peanut allergies and citrus allergies, and our policy was that all treats brought in must be store bought, primariyl due to this fact. As teachers/adminstrators responsible for the saftey of all students/staff, we cannot put our blind trust into other people and allow them to make treats for students. even though we only allowed sotre bought treats, we still had to read all labels before we could serve the treats to prevent an an episode with food allergies. It is a sad fact, that we have to do this to protect others and it is a pain and more expensive, but please think of the other side of the coin...if it were your child, you would prefer to know all the ingredients in everything your child ate while they were in school.

Our school still allows homemade treats to be brought in, but we're a small rural ND school. :) When we were in Omaha, my daughter's school there only allowed store bought food to be brought in. They had that "rule" in place to ensure there wasn't anything harmful in the food. Also, there are so much more food allergies for people to worry about now. Our school just went "nut-free" as there's a child who is allergic. It's all about safety! :)

It's not political. It is safety concerns. Usually if you store buy something, the ingredients are listed right on the box. Plus, you take out the element of somebody putting something dangerous in the treats at home.

I agree that this is a sad situation in our day in age. Homemade treats are so special! But, I also understand that many places do this for food allergies, so that the label of ingredients can be read, and also for food posioning issues. Unfortunately, a few people have caused this to be a national trend. How sad that a person could be sued or acussed of sabotage for providing a homemade loving treat!

There are some adorable things you can do, though, to create a "homemade" treat with store bought items. Check at familyfun.com for some great tips. You can decorate storebought candycanes with gooley eyes and wrap a brown pipe cleaner to create antlers for an adorable reindeer candy cane treat. Or, assemble some items to creat a boxcar, complete with minisized candybar roof and peppermint hard candy wheels.

Another thing to consider is that some places may allow you to make a homemade treat if you provide an ingredients list. Talk to your principal or organizational leader to see if this is a possibility. You might need to provide the recipe, list of ingredients used with the brands, but if approved this could also work in some situations.

When I was still in highschool, one of the "big" boys that got picked on a lot brought homemade cookies with exlax (sp?) in them! He passed them around to a bunch of the jocks who were picking on him. Lets just say that they spent the rest of the school day in the bathroom.......

Situations like that have contributed to this rule!

I was told because of food allergies. When things are store bought you know whats in them.

Political? Huh?

Nope - Legal reasons... there is no way to regulate the sanitary conditions and allergen requirements of someone's home. No school wants to get sued for providing food (on treat day or at a party)that they cannot guarantee the safety and quality of. OSHA and the FDA don't review whether or not little Billy uses clean dishes when he helps mom with the cupcakes; or even if Sarah's mom has running water or washes after using a bathroom, and she brought the fruit dip.

Honestly, coming from a poor community as a kid...I get it. We had a neighbor who does wedding and banquet catering out of her home. We attended a 4H meeting at her house, and when preparing for our regular luncheon, someone had to open her drawers to get silverware... a mouse ran across her hand. She had boxes covering windows, trash everywhere, and vermin residue (mouse poop) in the cupboards and drawers. AND SHE WAS A "CATERER!" You would be horrified to see how some people live.

Needless to say I am heebied out by potluck dinners unless I verify who made what. Rightly so.

I feel that everyone who has commented thus far has failed to realize something. One of the reasons why schools are not allowing this anymore is for the same reasons we parents go thru our kids Halloween candy before they eat it.

There are too many weirdos out there today and who knows what would be in the food!

Also there is the kid obesity issue, with schools switching over to healthy snacks instead of homemade treats. They are not trying to be mean but rather help it to be safe.

The world is changing and the schools are just trying to keep our kids safe. Now it's also a standard practice to have Lock down Drills with Tornado Drills and Fire Drills.

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