Nutrition services

Nutrition Services Reviewing BSD Menus for Sesame Ingredients – Bellevue School District

In January 2023, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) begin requiring food manufacturers to list a ninth (9th) major food allergen, sesame, on their ingredient labels. Upon learning of this upcoming change, the Bellevue School District Department of Nutritional Services started reviewing our sesame ingredient products and recipes. During this process, they were notified that starting this fall, our bread distributor, Franz, was planning to add a small amount of sesame flour to hamburger buns, hot dog buns, hoagie and bread rolls – which are used by our school meals program. Items such as sliced ​​breads, bagels and English muffins are not affected. Please note that while Franz has shared this information, we anticipate that other food manufacturers will also update their processes to comply with the new requirements. Expected changes include manufacturers updating their ingredient labels to identify the presence or possible presence of sesame (for example, stating “may contain sesame”).

How does BSD mitigate allergen risks in schools?

BSD Nutrition Services strives to provide the safest possible environment for all students. It is not possible to completely eliminate all food allergens from the school meals program due to the volume of food sources entering schools. Although we do our best to be aware of common food allergens on our menus, there is always a risk of hidden ingredients, contamination of food during preparation and the possibility of manufacturers modifying the ingredients of their products. without notice.

Methods already in place to monitor allergens and meals in BSD schools include:

My school menu

Nutrition Services provides students and families with access to food ingredients served through a digital menu called “My School Menu”. The digital menu offers a tool to filter menu items by a specific allergen. Although not yet required, our Nutrition Services team has already added seeds as an option in this tool. The “seeds” filter filters ingredient declarations for the presence of sunflower and/or sesame seeds.

From My school menus web page, select your student’s school and the menu you want to view. Use the options on the right to select “Filter Allergens”, then follow the instructions. For example, if seeds are selected, the digital menu will cross out all menu choices that have seeds as an ingredient. A review of the ingredient declaration will clarify the presence of sesame or sunflower seeds.

Signage of allergens in schools

The Department of Nutrition Services will continue to post signs indicating allergens in specific menu items in our elementary schools.

Documentation and notification of special dietary needs and accommodations

Our district nurses collect information about students who have food allergies each school year and share this information with nutrition services. Kitchen staff do their best not to serve students with foods to which they may be allergic. However, it is essential that families also work with their students to help them understand how to avoid foods as well.

Special dietary accommodation requests are reserved for students with disabilities, such as a life-threatening food allergy whose needs cannot be successfully met using the menu and allergen tools that are provided. For assistance in requesting special dietary accommodations, contact Nutrition Services at [email protected] or 425-456-4507.