Peanut Policy for Bay District Schools?

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BAY COUNTY - More than half a dozen schools received boxes of peanut butter cookies. District officials tell NewsChannel 7 they can't find a peanut policy in their books, but that goes against rules made by a previous board back in 2007.

Last week Chartwells manager Jonathan White sent out an email to all cafeteria managers, telling them to pull several boxes of peanut butter cookies that were sent to more than half a dozen schools.
Chartwells says none of the cookies ever made it into the hands of children.

"People do mistakes and it was something that was just sent out as an error," said Julio Narvaez, Chartwells District Manager. "Once we realized it was at the school, we just immediately acted up on getting the product out of the school."

The incident is bringing up the question of if there is a peanut policy for Bay District Schools. Currently district officials and Chartwells managers say there isn't.

District officials say its common knowledge to not serve peanut products in cafeterias even if they can't find a policy in the books.

"I think common sense really prevails. Our food service people know what's the right thing," said School Board Member, Ginger Littleton.
"If we make a policy for everything, then we'll not be able to do anything."

Even though there's not an official peanut policy for Bay District Schools, notes from a budget public hearing workshop in 2007 show that former board members and district officials talked about discontinuing the use of peanut butter due to allergies.

That rule has been in place since October 1, 2007 and even though the district and Chartwells denies there is a peanut policy, that goes against what Chartwells told NewsChannel 7 in an interview last year.

"I know that you have a no peanut policy and we'll absolutely abide by that," said Christine McGoldrick with Chartwells.

When NewsChannel 7 asked Chartwells officials Friday, they say they're simply following a practice.

"A lot of districts are taking the initiative of not dealing with peanut items or peanut products, so since we got into Bay District, we just continue with that practice," said Narvaez.

To find out what ingredients are in the school lunches, parents can contact their school's nurse or a Chartwells representative.